Chief Executive Officer at Global Payments
Thanks, Winnie. We are pleased to have delivered yet another quarter of strong results that exceeded our expectations heading into 2022, despite incremental macro headwinds throughout the period. Specifically, we achieved record first quarter revenue, margin, and earnings per share with solid free cash flow and our performance again highlights our business resilience and track record of execution. We are especially delighted with our Merchant Solutions performance, which exhibited ongoing momentum as our strategies for differentiated growth are winning in the marketplace. We continue to see favorable new sales trends across our businesses, providing further evidence that we are gaining share. And our results today reflect those gains. The strong bookings we've been reporting in Global Payments Integrated and US payments and payroll drove attractive growth for both businesses during the quarter. And earlier this year, we combined these two businesses to unlock additional market opportunities and accelerate growth by creating a more streamlined go-to-market strategy and capitalizing on the best of these two high performing cultures.
We are in the early stages of leveraging our Heartland sales professionals to increase our penetration with GPI partner customers as well as harmonizing the cross-selling of our commerce enablement solutions across these channels. We are also excited to have recently launched the co-selling facet of our Google partnership and we expect our joint go-to-market efforts will drive significant referral and new customer acquisition opportunities for businesses of all sizes. We also expanded our acquiring relationship with Google, which utilizes our Unified Commerce Platform or UCP to North America, following the success of our initial launch in Asia Pacific late last year. Further, we remain on track to launch the next phase of Google One and Grow My Business to help our merchants grow faster, by connecting additional Google services to our digital platform later this year.
Speaking of our leading omnichannel platform, Global Payments is excited to announce a new partnership with Brooks Sports to modernize its payment acceptance capabilities in the UK and across Europe. In addition, we are pleased to be expanding our partnerships in Asia Pacific, including with Hilton to incorporate new payment features and functionality as well as with the Swatch Group across multiple brands and regions. We are also increasing the scope of our agreement with Charge Point, the world's largest network of EV charging stations in North America and Europe. Beyond our existing car present relationship to now include e-commerce.
Our partnership with Citi via UCP that spans North America, the UK and Continental Europe continues to gain traction. We are currently targeting approximately 300 of Citi's largest Treasury and Trade Solutions customers. We also continue to add new geographies through our partnership, including recently launching in Italy, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany. And we expect to be live together in a dozen European countries, by year-end and will launch seven additional countries in Europe by early 2023.
Across our Merchant businesses, we are unique in our ability to combine software, hardware and payments across in-person, mobile and online channels. As one example, our POS software solutions generated revenue growth of nearly 50% in the first quarter as we continue to see great traction with our verticalized solutions, particularly in restaurant and retail as well as across the Vital platform which we plan to bring to key international markets, including the UK, Spain and Central Europe later this year. Our vertical markets portfolio delivered strong double-digit growth with a 36% increase in bookings and we expect these businesses will remain a tailwind for our merchant growth going forward.
In our stadium and events vertical, we have now gone live with our Xenial Cloud Point of Sale solutions and Mercedes-Benz Stadium as part of our partnership to enable its multi-channel commerce ecosystem. In enterprise QSR, we successfully completed the rollout of our POS solution with Dutch Bros and will soon be expanding our relationship to include additional software offerings to support the brands robust growth. We also remain on track to complete the rollout of our Xenial Cloud POS solution to all Denny's and Long John Silver's restaurants prior to the end of calendar year 2022. Further, it's worth highlighting that we signed a new agreement with Focus Brands to deploy Xenial's digital menu board solution across Auntie Anne's Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba Juice, McAlister's Deli, Moe's Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky's Deli franchises.
Our A&D business delivered another quarter of strong bookings growth of nearly 35% and equipped a significant milestone with the number of active physicians and providers utilizing the platform surpassing 50,000 for the first time and TouchNet delivered the best new sales quarter in its history, which includes the signing of the University of British Columbia, its largest single international deal ever. Early success in our newest vertical market, real estate, also continued in the first quarter with Zego delivering record new bookings for the period.
As we discussed at our September Investor Conference, we continue to benefit from ongoing innovation in our ecosystem, including Buy Now, Pay Later or BNPL technologies. We launched our BNPL as a service marketplace in the first quarter to augment our 140-plus alternative payment methods portfolio exactly as we said we would. Our marketplace allows merchants to provide solutions across multiple BNPL providers in their target markets through a single integration point, expanding our alternative payments offerings on a regulated compliant and responsible basis, while supporting merchant enablement and consumer choice. In combination with our BNPL initiatives to our market leading issuing business, they target financial institutions and retailers we expect to drive significant growth beyond the 2 billion transactions that we already enabled through BNPL annually.
Late last year we announced that we have reached an agreement to extend and expand the scope of our long-standing relationship with PayPal, which leverages our unparalleled e-commerce technology footprint across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific for a multi-year period. And I'm happy to report that we expect to be live with PayPal this quarter in new geographies and additional verticals and will support the cryptocurrencies for the first time, expanding our target addressable markets. Additionally, we are pleased to announce a strategic alliance with BACT, a trusted digital asset platform that enables consumers to buy/sell and hold a range of digital assets. We will be supporting a range of use cases starting with enabling cryptocurrency redemption in customer loyalty programs offered by our bank card clients, expanding our banking as a service offerings to include cryptocurrency and ultimately leveraging issuing technologies for linking virtual debit, credit and prepaid solutions. We're also excited to announce a broad collaboration with BACT in multinational payments acceptance.
Moving to Issuer Solutions, we are thrilled to announce that CaixaBank as recently signed a letter of intent to memorialize the selection of Global Payments as its technology partner for its card-issuing businesses. This is the largest potential new customer signing for our issuer business since 2013 and would double our implementation pipeline to its highest level in our history, providing opportunities for accelerated growth over the next several years. In conjunction with our announced partnership with Virgin Money and other recent wins, our relationship a CaixaBank complements our debit strategy and positions Global Payments as a leading debit technology provider across Europe.
Virgin Money is a significant competitive take away and we successfully completed the migration of the Virgin Money credit portfolio to our platform in February. And it is our first use case combining issuing and acquiring capabilities to offer transaction stream optimization solutions which we expect to go live in the next 12 months. We're also proud to successfully achieve significant multi-year renewal agreements with UK based Metro Bank as well as with Ireland based Permanent TSB, which are two other long-standing TSYS Issuer customers where our partnership spans both debit and credit portfolios. Further, we continue to benefit from our strategy of aligning with market share winners. We expect to add another significant portfolio to our record conversion pipeline upon the closing of the sizable acquisition that one of our largest North American based clients that is expanding in the United States. Simply put, we are winning in our Issuer Solutions business because we are selling more market-leading technologies to scale leaders through more distinctive and defensible distribution channels in more markets than we have had previously.
Our unique collaboration with AWS is tracking as planned with 10 modernized services now built and available in the cloud. We've already successfully executed over 100 client migrations to our modernized Issuer platform and recently announced a partnership with Mastercard to include authorizations clearing and settlement in the cloud. And we anticipate CaixaBank to be among the first large financial institutions to go directly to the cloud with us by the end of 2023. Together with AWS, our preferred cloud provider for issuer business, we now have 39 active prospects in the pipeline, 11 of which are neo banks, fintechs and start-ups. We also currently have eight letters of intent with institutions worldwide, four of which are competitive takeaways. We are currently participating in several active 100% cloud RFPs with large institutions and retailers globally. Our fully functional modern issuing payment stack operating globally at scale differentiates us in the market. Simply put, the public cloud sales.
As we look to further capitalize in our ability to combine accounts payable SaaS technologies with our best-in-class capabilities into market leading B2B solutions, we're now managing MineralTree as part of our Issuer Solutions business. As we discussed at our Investor Conference last September, we believe that we already possess one of the largest B2B businesses at scale globally. And that our commercial card and virtual card efforts within our Issuer segment are the lynchpins of our overall B2B strategies. When viewed in that light, MineralTree's capabilities are a perfect fit for that business. We're delighted that MineralTree's momentum continued this quarter, including 60% growth in virtual card spend for the period and achieving the highest virtual card spend month in its history in March. Bookings grew in excess of 20% this quarter and MineralTree successfully extended key financial institution relationships with Bank of the West and Fifth Third Bank and went live with Finance of America companies. A large enterprise customer signed late last year.
It's worth highlighting that our MineralTree products have now been entered into the AWS co-selling program which will allow us to accelerate growth with our accounts payable solutions into both the middle market as well as larger enterprises. Our focus on growing our B2B solutions business continues to be successful. We have expanded our agreement with Cracker Barrel to include an EWA partnership across its more than 660 stores in the United States. This adds to our existing Paycard solution relationship and increases our opportunity set with their eligible employees by more than 200%. Also, we recently renewed Paycard partnerships with Big Lots, large Travel Stops and Country Stores and Cumberland Farms, collectively, spanning over 2,500 locations in more than 47 states. We could not be more pleased with the investments we've made in our strategy that have enabled our resilience during the pandemic and driven the outsized growth we've achieved over the last eight years since we began running the company.
At the same time, we seek to continue to refine our portfolio by simplifying the composition of our businesses and focusing on our core corporate customers, including merchants, software partners, technology leaders, corporates and financial institutions. As part of that initiative, last quarter we announced a strategic review of our NetSpend consumer business to sharpen our focus on our B2B assets. I am pleased to report that we have made progress and that there is significant interest in NetSpend set of direct to consumer solutions. We look forward to providing additional details on our plans for these assets in the future as events unfold.
Before I turn the call over to Paul, I express my deepest concerns regarding the devastating situation in Ukraine. We recently closed on the sale of our United Card Service business in Russia and we take some solace that we've done what we can to responsibly support our team members and that we have been providing financial and humanitarian support to those impacted. We do not have any operating businesses in Ukraine. This has been a difficult time for all of our team members, customers and partners across the region. Ultimately, our values and culture provided the roadmap for our decision making. Paul?