May 07, 2009

Western Union (Englewood, Colo.) has announced it will acquire Custom House Ltd., (Victoria, B.C., Canada), a provider of B2B international payment solutions for small and midsize business. The deal is valued at US$370 million and is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

According to Western Union, the buy fits in with the company's strategic plan to broaden its reach by allowing Western Union to enter a new growth market and diversify its portfolio; furthering its presence in the SME payment market; expanding the company's customer base; building a global line of business; and establishing account-to-account transfer capabilities that complement Western Union's existing cash-to-cash and account-to-cash expertise.

Custom House is owned by founder Peter Gustavson and the Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill Partners. It will become part of the Western Union global payments segment (formerly the consumer-to-business segment) on completion of the transaction, and continue to operate under its existing management team in Canada. For each of the past nine years, Custom House has been voted one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies, according to a release. Ranjana Clark, EVP of global payments and global strategy at Western Union, said in a statement, "Custom House is a highly complementary business with a proven operating model, seasoned management and differentiating technology. Custom House president and CEO Peter Ciceri and his team are known for providing clients with speed, accuracy and world-class customer service. We look forward to working closely with Custom House as we continue to grow this dynamic business."

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