Hearst Corporation today announced the acquisition of an 80 percent stake in KUBRA Data Transfer Ltd, a leading provider of digital bill delivery and payment services with offices across North America. The investment puts Hearst in a leading position to provide services to a wide range of clients in the utility, insurance, financial services, healthcare and government industries. Hearst Corporation President & CEO Steven R. Swartz and KUBRA President & CEO Rick Watkin made the joint announcement. Financial terms were not disclosed.
KUBRA manages solutions for more than 500 clients, interacting with 50 million customer relationships with more than $350 billion in annual payments. It serves three of the five largest U.S. utility companies and two of the top 10 insurance companies. Founded in 1992, the company is actively focused on developing additional industry segments such as major property and casualty insurance providers, and state and local governments. KUBRA will operate as an independent unit of Hearst Magazines, and will work closely with CDS Global, another independent Hearst company, based in Des Moines, Iowa. For 40 years, CDS Global has been a leading provider of end-to-end business process outsourcing for more than 1,100 marquee brands across industries, including media, nonprofits and consumer products. Watkin will report to Hearst Magazines President David Carey.
“As the consumer shift to electronic payment becomes more rapid, companies offering fully integrated billing and payment services are in high demand,” Swartz says. “KUBRA is poised for major growth with its strong presence in the utility, insurance, government, financial services and healthcare industries. After exhaustive industry research, we believe KUBRA’s unparalleled technology is extremely well positioned to positively influence the shift from paper to digital interactions.”
“The outsourced integrated bill payment and presentment services marketplace continues to see major growth, with companies spending over $6 billion per year with third-party providers,” Watkin says. “We look forward to working with Hearst to continue to grow our businesses. The strength of our technology, the voluminous amount of data that we process, provides KUBRA a unique opportunity to leverage the intelligence of the data in order to deliver rich and meaningful customer interactions for all our clients.”
“KUBRA’s paper and electronic customer invoice and payment offerings complement those of CDS Global and this investment will further our efforts to provide the kind of turnkey services the fast-growing digital bill delivery and payment services industry demands,” Carey says. “We want to build new service businesses that have scale and I look forward to working with Rick and his management team to make that happen.”
For the past three years, KUBRA has been named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies, and in 2012, the company was ranked one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM.
Market-leading B-to-B companies have long been a strategic focus for Hearst Corporation, which operates more than 20 businesses across the medical/pharmaceutical, automotive, electronic and finance industries. Among its core competencies is the aggregation of time-sensitive price, product and technical information that is integrated into business and professional processes.
Wells Fargo Securities advised Hearst Corporation and Financial Technology Partners served as an advisor to KUBRA.
KUBRA (kubra.com) provides customer interaction management solutions to some of the largest utility, insurance, government, financial services, healthcare and communication companies across North America. Our portfolio of integrated multi-channel outsource solutions include document print and mailing, e-billing and self-service, document management and payment solutions. With over 500 clients and 1 billion customer interactions annually KUBRA enables innovative performance-driven value to its clients every day.
About Hearst Corporation
Hearst Corporation (hearst.com) is one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies. Its major interests include ownership of 15 daily and 34 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations, which reach a combined 18 percent of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, HISTORY and ESPN; significant holdings in automotive, electronic and medical/pharmaceutical business information companies; a 50 percent stake in global ratings agency Fitch Group; Internet and marketing services businesses; television production; newspaper features distribution; and real estate.