InterCept Sells IPS in Two Pieces for $54 Million

Atlanta-based InterCept identified the interested parties in the purchase of its merchant services division, which together will produce a $54 million sale price, about $16 million more than the previously announced deal. Yesterday, Pay By Touch paid $30.5 million for all of InterCept Payment Solutions except the iBill segment, and Penthouse’s Media Billing subsidiary paid $23.5 million for all of the outstanding member interests of iBill. Last month, Intercept announced it had signed a LOI to sell IPS for $37.4 million to a group that includes CEO John Perry and a third party provider of merchant payment services for both traditional and Web-based merchants. However, last week InterCept confirmed it had received another offer for some or all of its merchant services division. The Pay By Touch agreement includes $12.0 million cash; a $15.5 million note due in 180 days that is guaranteed by three Pay By Touch stockholders (the note will be discounted by $3.0 million to $9.5 million if Pay By Touch makes a $3.0 million prepayment in 60 days); a one year $2.5 million note that is convertible into Pay By Touch preferred stock currently valued at $2.5 million at InterCept’s option; and shares of Pay By Touch preferred stock currently valued at $500,000. The Penthouse/Media Billing deal includes $0.7 million in cash, a $0.8 million short-term note, and assumption of a $22.0 million working capital deficit. InterCept will provide further details as well as release its fourth quarter earnings report on Thursday. (CF Library 2/11/04; 3/17/04)

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Nearly 100 Acquisition/Agent Deals Inked in 2003

Nearly 100 banks and credit unions sold their credit card portfolios and signed agent partnerships last year. Atlanta-based InfiCorp led the charge, purchasing the largest bank portfolio and the top two credit union portfolios of the year. InfiCorp purchased the $23 million Principal Bank portfolio, the $33 million portfolio of Choice One Credit Union, and the $31 million portfolio of Financial Partners Credit Union. Peterborough, NH-based Brookwood Capital says that for the full year 2003 nearly $600 million in portfolios were sold into agent programs, with InfiCorp, Elan Services, MBNA and TNB Card Services being the most frequent buyers. The 40 bank deals completed last year averaged $4.5 million in size, while the 59 credit union deals averaged $6.9 million. Overall, the average size among the 99 deals was $5.9 million. Brookwood says that difficulty in committing marketing resources for card programs, pressure to introduce expensive reward programs, intense rate competition, and concern over the high levels of credit and fraud risk, drove smaller institutions to unload their card programs and seek a strategic partnership with a larger credit card issuer.

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Advanced Secure Memory Card Specification Coming

The MultiMediaCard Association announced that Gemplus, Hitachi, Hyperstone, Infineon Technologies Flash, Lexar Media, Nokia, Power Digital Card, Renesas, Samsung, SanDisk, Sanyo, Silicon Motion and ST Microelectronics have teamed to form a working group to spearhead the adoption of the next generation “Secure MultiMediaCard” specification as the basis for “OMA DRM Ver. 2.0”-compliant removable secure storage media and mobile commerce application platforms on mobile devices. The MultiMediaCard Association has long been at the forefront of secure removable media standards, with previous versions of SecureMMC specifications addressing content protection and mobile transactions. The new specification Ver. 2.0 defines an extension to the existing MultiMediaCard standard protocols to create a communication interface for the incorporation of smart card technology in MultiMediaCards.

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UnitedHealth Tops 7 Million E-Benefits Cards

Minneapolis-based UnitedHealth Group, which utilizes the MasterCard network to transmit and receive insurance eligibility and benefit data, reported yesterday it has issued seven million electronic benefit cards to its 18 million employer-sponsored health benefits customers. The consumer identification cards can be swiped through any point-of-sale device at a hospital, physician office or other care location, and utilize the MasterCard network to transmit and receive important insurance eligibility and benefit data. UnitedHealth Group is a diversified enterprise that provides a full spectrum of resources and services to help people achieve improved health and well-being through all stages of life.

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OTI in the Black as Revenues Climb 46% in 4Q/03

Israel- and California-based On Track Innovations reported that fourth quarter revenues rose 46% to a record $5.8 million and that gross profit for the fourth quarter was up 78% to $3.3 million. Net profit for the fourth quarter was $102,000, compared to a net loss of $2.0 million in 4Q/02. OTI says last year was a year in which the Company began seeing the success of projects in development for several years. During the quarter, OTI’s “EasyFuel” petroleum payment solution entered Europe with an installation in Spain and a wireless “EasyFuel” solution was installed in a chain of gas stations in Mexico. OTI’s contactless payment solution was selected for use in the MasterCard “PayPass” contactless payment roll-out in the US. Also during the fourth quarter, OTI and Scheidt & Bachmann formed an alliance to provide mass transit ticketing solutions, with the first implementation to be in Houston. OTI says this year the firm will continue to focus on the three main vertical market applications of petroleum payment “EasyFuel,” credentialing, ID and personnel authentication, and cash replacement for small ticket items. For complete details on OTI’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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I.C.E Acquires a Gift and Loyalty Card Provider

Oxnard, CA-based International Card Establishment is acquiring Irvine, CA-based gift and loyalty card provider, Neos Merchant Solutions, for $5 million in stock. Neos is a national provider of Gift and Loyalty card processing, electronic payment, and POS equipment integration, providing all forms of non-cash payment transactions, including credit and debit card and Gift and Loyalty, and check-from merchant POS terminals. Neos Merchant Solutions is full service payment processing company offering a turnkey solution to today’s retail merchants. I.C.E. is a rapidly growing provider of diversified products and services to the electronic transaction processing industry.

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West Virginia Sues Cross Country & Applied Systems

The West Virginia Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Cross Country Bank and its affiliate Applied Card Systems, asking the court to grant a temporary injunction restraining the companies from violating West Virginia consumer protection law until the final hearing in the case. Attorney General Darrell McGraw is also seeking reimbursements of $200 to $3,700 for each alleged consumer victim, and a $5,000 fine for each violation. The suit charges that Cross Country engaged in deceptive marketing of credit cards, offering low credit limits and charging exorbitant hidden fees to consumers who already had bad credit. The suit contends that Applied Card Systems used a wide range of abusive collection practices to coerce consumers into making payments if they contested the fees or defaulted on the account.The case is largely based on depositions of numerous debt collectors formerly employed at the Beckley, WV office of Applied Card Systems, which was closed last year. The Attorney General’s office says it has processed more than 200 consumer complaints against the firms. Cross Country and Applied Systems reportedly deny the allegations.

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On Track Innovations Reaches Profitability as Revenues Climb 46%

Rosh Pina-based On Track Innovations reported that fourth quarter revenues rose 46% to a record $5.8 million and that gross profit for the fourth quarter was up 78% to $3.3 million. Net profit for the fourth quarter was $102,000, compared to a net loss of $2.0 million in 4Q/02. OTI says last year was a year in which the Company began seeing the success of projects in development for several years. During the quarter, OTI’s “EasyFuel” petroleum payment solution entered Europe with an installation in Spain and a wireless “EasyFuel” solution was installed in a chain of gas stations in Mexico. OTI’s contactless payment solution was selected for use in the MasterCard “PayPass” contactless payment roll-out in the US. Also during the fourth quarter, OTI and Scheidt & Bachmann formed an alliance to provide mass transit ticketing solutions, with the first implementation to be in Houston. OTI says this year the firm will continue to focus on the three main vertical market applications of petroleum payment “EasyFuel,” credentialing, ID and personnel authentication, and cash replacement for small ticket items.

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