Ingenico, a French maker of payment terminals, is in discussions to buy the U.S. assets of Hypercom Corp., giving it a bigger foothold in North America, three people with knowledge of the negotiations said.
The people, who asked not to be identified because the deal isn't public, declined to discuss how much Ingenico might pay. ViVOtech Inc., a rival maker of payment technology, said yesterday that it's also interested in the assets.
Ingenico would use the Hypercom operations to expand in the U.S., where companies like Google Inc. are about to start testing mobile-payment services. Such technology would let shoppers pay for things at checkout using phones rather than cash or physical credit cards. In 2014, mobile-payment systems will handle $245 billion in global transactions, up from $32 billion in 2010, according to research firm Gartner Inc.
The U.S. assets are for sale because they overlap with those of VeriFone Systems Inc., which announced plans to acquire Hypercom for $485 million in November. VeriFone aims to shore up its operations in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and other European markets where Hypercom is more established. The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of 2011.
Pete Schuddekopf, a spokesman for Hypercom, declined to comment, as did Leah Roscoe, vice president of global marketing for VeriFone. Remi Calvet, an Ingenico spokesman, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
Hypercom fell 24 cents to $12.03 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Ingenico climbed €1.22 to €31.60 in Paris trading, while San Jose, California-based VeriFone dropped $1.89, or 3.3 percent, to $54.95.
Ingenico—located in Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside Paris—attempted to buy Hypercom in 2008, only to see the deal fall through. Hypercom, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, had sales of $126 million in the Americas region last year, 27 percent of its total revenue.
ViVOtech, a startup based in Santa Clara, California, said yesterday in a statement that it has approached VeriFone about buying the assets. ViVOtech specializes in a technology called near-field communications, which lets people make payments by tapping a phone against a cash-register system.
"We think they have good technology, good people," ViVOtech Chief Executive Officer Mick Mullagh said in an interview.