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2 November, 2006 - 16:26 By Staff Reporter

PayPoint increases internet profile with £8.4m acquisition

PayPoint plc, the leading Welwyn-based branded payment collection network, has acquired independent internet payment service provider (PSP), Metacharge Ltd, for £8.4 million.Metacharge processes real-time payment transactions for goods and services over the internet, by telephone, email, fax and mail-order and is growing rapidly. It services some 500 merchants, primarily based in the UK.

The selling shareholders are a group of private investors, including management. Metacharge is currently profitable, and is expected to be accretive to PayPoint’s earnings, from the end of the first year after the acquisition.

Dominic Taylor, chief executive of PayPoint, said: “This acquisition represents a significant step forward in our strategy of broadening PayPoint’s payment channels. It reflects the increasing importance of the internet as a payment channel for consumer payments and leverages our proven skills in managing both merchants and transactions.

“Offering an internet payment solution alongside our physical payment collection network will enable us to offer clients a more comprehensive payment solution.”

PayPoint is a leading payment collection network of over 15,000 outlets used, primarily, for the cash payment of bills and services and prepayments for mobile telephones and energy meters.

PayPoint began trading in 1996 and initially collected payments through its network of retail agents for its founder client investors, who included British Gas, BT, BBC TV Licensing, London Electricity and four water companies.

It now has more than 800 clients including many of the UK and Ireland’s major energy, cable, mobile and fixed line telephony companies. Its blue chip client list also extends to numerous water companies, local authorities and housing associations and a growing transport and travel base.

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