Atlanta angles for 1,200-plus tech jobs

The city of Atlanta is negotiating to land the headquarters of a major payments processing company, a move that could bring more than 1,200 high-paying jobs to the city, according to public documents reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Two people with knowledge of the situation told the AJC the company is Sandy Springs-based Worldpay US.

If Worldpay makes the move, it would be the latest example of major technology operations moving intown from the northern suburbs — a reversal of decades of migration outside the Perimeter. Worldpay US currently has about 600 employees in Sandy Springs. So Atlanta’s gain could be a loss for the North Fulton city.

Earlier this year, health care information technology firm athenahealth moved its regional hub in Alpharetta to Ponce City Market. Coca-Cola recently moved 2,000 IT workers from Cobb County to a downtown office building. Duluth-based NCR, a global financial technology firm, has considered moving operations to Midtown from Gwinnett County.

The board of Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, is expected to consider $1.5 million in local incentives for Worldpay at its Thursday meeting. The company is not named in a meeting agenda. An Invest Atlanta spokeswoman declined to comment. The people who identified the company were not authorized to speak publicly.

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Any incentives would also require approval of the Atlanta City Council. And the company has been considering a number of possible locations.

“Recent acquisitions and product development requires Worldpay to consider moving into new office space – including potentially inside the City of Atlanta – to keep pace with our rapid expansion,” Tony Catalfano, president and CEO of Worldpay US, said Monday in an email to the AJC. “Several exciting options are on the table and require more time to finalize, but we look forward to sharing these details once plans are complete.”

Earlier this year, Catalfano told the AJC that he had planned to put an important innovation arm of the company in Silicon Valley because of its mass of technology workers. But he said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and others in the metro business community convinced him the city offered a robust tech community, too.

“There is momentum here, ” Catalfano said at the time.

He said then that he hoped to locate operations within the city of Atlanta, including possibly shifting the entire company as it grew.

Worldpay US is the American subsidiary of London-based Worldpay. The overarching company processed 5.7 billion credit and debit transactions in 2013 on behalf of retailers and other merchants, making it the sixth-largest such processor by volume in the world, according to data from The Nilson Report, an industry publication.

Georgia is home to some of the world’s largest financial technology firms, including TSYS, First Data and NCR. The industry employs about 40,000 people in metro Atlanta, according to materials compiled by Invest Atlanta.

Two-thirds of the 135 billion payment card transactions around the world in 2011 crossed over the systems of Georgia financial technology companies, according to recent data from the Technology Association of Georgia.

On Thursday, Invest Atlanta’s board is expected to vote whether to grant the $1.5 million in incentives to an unnamed firm to assist in the relocation of its headquarters. An Atlanta City Council document also references a call center.

The prospect, described as “one of the world’s leading payment companies,” is expected to bring 1,266 jobs to the city, according to city documents.

The company is referred to as “Project ORR” in documents accompanying the Invest Atlanta meeting agenda.

The Invest Atlanta board document said the jobs will pay an average wage of more than $73,000 and that the prospect is expected to invest $9.6 million as part of the expansion.

Worldpay could be eligible for addition incentives from the state of Georgia based on the total number of new jobs created.

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