Ingenico Said to Weigh Purchase of Hi-Media’s Payment Business

Ingenico (ING) SA is considering a purchase of Hi-Media SA (HIM)’s electronic-payment business, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

A deal related to the unit may be announced Aug. 31, when Paris-based Hi-Media reports earnings, and may involve a sale or joint venture, according to a second person, who declined to be named because the talks are private. Hi-Media said in December it was working with NIBC Bank NV to review options for the Hipay electronic-wallet and the Allopass micropayment platform.

Hi-Media generated half of its 222 million euros ($322 million) in sales last year from the electronic-payment unit, which lets consumers send and receive money online and via phones. The business would help an acquirer gain share in the global mobile-payments market, which Juniper Research expects to reach $670 billion by 2015.

“You are buying a company with a lot of volume in Europe that’s making money and is already profitable,” said Pierre Bernardin, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas in Paris.

Google Inc. (GOOG), EBay Inc. (EBAY) or a private-equity firm might want to buy the business to expand in mobile payments, he said. Hi- Media may be able to command a price of at least 120 million euros -- or more from a buyer well-positioned to quickly use the purchase to grow in new markets, he said.

Koen van Zijl, a spokesman for NIBC in the Netherlands, and Nathan Tyler, a Google spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Ingenico spokesman Svy Nekrasas and Jerome Dangu at Hi-Media declined to comment, as did EBay spokesman John Pluhowski.

Allopass Service

Allopass is available in 65 countries and is used for more than 8 million transactions a month, according to Hi-Media’s website. Hi-Media’s business also includes the Hipay electronic wallet and a phone-based billing service.

In February 2010, Hi-Media opened an office in San Francisco to expand its U.S. business. Since then, Google has teamed up with companies such as VeriFone Systems Inc. (PAY) to introduce a so-called mobile wallet, which enables phones to be used for payments. Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc., T-Mobile USA also started a joint venture called Isis to provide a similar service.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland, Oregon, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.