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U.K.’s Optimal Payments Acquires Montreal’s FANS Entertainment

FANS Entertainment founder and CEO Benoit Fredette
FANS Entertainment founder and CEO Benoit Fredette

Montreal mobile engagement platform developers FANS Entertainment Inc. has been acquired by U.K.-based Optimal Payments (LSE AIM: OPAY), a global provider of online payment solutions, in a deal valued at $16 million (approximately $13 million US).

The FANS platform is a white label mobile means of engagement for fans at a particular venue, like a sports or concert arena. The FANS platform also incorporates mobile wallet technology. It engages fans with a particular team or event and thereby helps sports clubs or other stakeholders monetize that relationship using analytics to provide metrics around consumer behaviour.

Last October, FANS Entertainment partnered with the Montreal Canadiens and the Bell Centre, with traffic of over 1.5 million fans annually. The agreement was touted at the time as providing the Bell Centre with “the most advanced mobile platform in the industry”.

The platform provides fans with exclusive features, as well as the ability to order food and merchandise during the game from the comfort of their seat, as well as participating in interactive games and helping people locate their friends within the arena.

Founded in 2011 by CEO Benoit Fredette, the initial research around the FANS platform was conducted at Harvard University, and although headquartered in Montreal has since opened a New York office.
The management team will remain in place.

The acquisition provides Optimal Payments an entry into the event-specific market while bolstering their overall payment processing capabilities.

“We have been looking for an acquisition to enhance mobile expertise such as the FANS Platform that complements our existing services for some time, and to find the ideal technology and team here on our doorstep in Montreal is fantastic. Through FANS, Optimal Payments will be able to offer innovative value-added mobile payment services globally to customers and merchants in all of our vertical markets,” said Optimal Payments president and CEO Joel Leonoff. “We will be able to build on its mobile technology and accelerate Optimal Payments’ growth as an industry leading mobile payments provider.”

Under the deal, a total of 3,163,633 Consideration Shares will be issued through a subsidiary of Optimal Payments, which will then be exchangeable on a one-for-one basis for shares in Optimal Payments over the next three years.

Optimal Payments products, such as the NETBANX platform and NETELLER service, are used in over 200 countries and territories and process billions of dollars annually.

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