Monitise, a UK-based mobile banking software provider, has announced its intention to acquire a comparable, US-based supplier called Clairmail.
Both companies sell mobile banking applications, including account management and payments processing, to retail banks. Monitise’s customers include Lloyds TSB, HSBC, NatWest, RBS and payments giant Visa.
The UK company said the £109 million acquisition would create a "pure-play mobile money company of unprecedented scale in the US, which is expected to be the world’s largest mobile banking and payments market".
Monitise already has a US subsidiary, named Monitise Americas, which began life as a joint venture with Fidelity National Information Services. Monitise bought out Fidelity’s 51% share in the joint venture in October 2011, after it received a £24.7 million investment from Visa Europe.
Clairmail’s revenue grew by 90% in 2011 to £11 million, so the acquisition price is roughly ten times revenue.
Commenting on today’s acquisition news, TechMarketView’s Anthony Miller observed that both Monitise and Clairmail were both loss-making in their most recent financial years, "Monitise to the tune of nearly £15m … and Clairmail not far off that, at some £13m in 2011."
"It’s great to see a UK start-up making a mark in international markets, especially in one of the hottest tech areas," Miller remarked. "But it would be even greater if they could actually make a profit."