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We didn't see "Fiserv Forum" coming, either, so we had to bone up on the Brookfield financial tech company. Here's what you need to know about it.

The glittering new arena in Downtown Milwaukee finally has a name: Fiserv Forum.

The Milwaukee Bucks announced the name of their home arena Thursday afternoon as a 25-year partnership with Brookfield-based Fiserv Inc. 

The naming rights partner has been the subject of speculation for months, and while a local company with a national reach always made the most sense, conventional wisdom had that falling on more consumer-facing companies like Harley-Davidson, Northwestern Mutual or, you know, Miller. To the casual naming-rights handicapper, Fiserv was a very dark horse. (You’ll forgive us if we missed the May report that foreshadowed today’s news.)  

Gary Dineen/NBAE

Based on the reaction to the announcement around the MilMag office, we figured our readers could probably use a primer on the arena’s namesake. Here’s what you need to know about Fiserv:

First things first: Fiserv is pronounced with a long “i,” so the first syllable rhymes with “high.”

Huge employer: Fiserv employs about 24,000 people around the globe. The head count at its headquarters between Bluemound Road and I-94 near Brookfield Road is about 900, according to the Journal Sentinel

Fin-what? Fiserv is a national leader in financial services technology, or “fintech.” It’s behind the software that run banks and connect them with their customers: Services handling payments, processing, accounts, lending and much more. 

Benjamins incoming: The business of moving money is making a lot of it, too. In 2017 the company brought in $5.7 billion, and stockholders shared $1.2 billion in profit. 

A good bet: Fiserv’s stock (FISV) has been a heck of an investment since it debuted at 28 cents a share (adjusting for splits over the years) on the Nasdaq exchange in 1986. It closed Thursday at $77.27, meaning a $100 investment in Fiserv’s IPO would be worth nearly $27,600 today – plus dividends. 

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Another type of hardware: That $5.7 billion in revenue was good for No. 487 on the Fortune 500, down from No. 417 in 2016 but one slot ahead of another, higher-profile local company, Harley-Davidson Inc. Fiserv has been on the prestigious list of the nation’s largest (by revenue) publicly traded companies since 2011. This year, Fiserv also landed on Fortune’s list of “most admired companies” for the fifth straight year.  

Roots and branches: The company was created in 1984 by the merger of local company First Data Processing, helmed by George D. Dalton, and Sunshine State Systems of Florida. It has grown in part through aggressive acquisitions, taking on more than two dozen companies.

Leadership: Jeffery W. Yabuki has been the company’s CEO since 2005. He told the Journal Sentinel the arena deal is “quite frankly a once-in-a-multigenerational opportunity.” 

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