Global Payments Buys ACTIVE Verticals for $1B

"We are adding an enterprise software business operating in two new vertical markets that are highly fragmented."
Matthew HellerAugust 3, 2017

Global Payments has made a deal that will allow it to provide digital payments technology to the organizers of fitness and sports events, a relatively untapped market.

The company, a leading provider of payment technology services, said Thursday it had agreed to acquire the communities and sports divisions of event management software firm ACTIVE Network from Vista Equity Partners for about $1.2 billion.

Vista, a private-equity firm that invests in the enterprise software segment of the technology market, will retain ACTIVE’s outdoors division.

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“ACTIVE Network aligns perfectly with our technology-enabled, software driven strategy and complements our existing businesses well,” Global Payments CEO Jeff Sloan said in a news release. “With ACTIVE Network, we are adding an enterprise software business operating in two new vertical markets that are highly fragmented and underpenetrated with attractive growth fundamentals.”

As PaymentsSource reports, digital payments technology for fitness, sports and related events “has traditionally lagged behind more traditional retail chains, giving Global Payments an opportunity to introduce services to reside alongside the event management software that ACTIVE provides.”

ACTIVE is “operating in an underpenetrated and fragmented market,” Sloan said in a conference call. “And it does not conflict with Global Payments business partners.”

Global Payments previously expanded its service to small businesses, restaurants and education payment companies in 2015 by acquiring Heartland Payment Systems for $4.3 billion. Like fitness and sports events, those markets had traditionally been underserved by integrated payment options.

“We’re going to see more of this,” Rick Oglesby, president of AZ Payments Group, told PaymentsSource. “The traditional payment terminal and e-commerce gateway markets are well served, but there are a number of segments of the market that require an entirely different set of tools.”

“There are still plenty of avenues to displace cash and grow the payments industry, but they require more creativity than the traditional terminal and gateway markets,” he added.

Global Payments will also partner with Vista Equity Partners to provide payments technology to Vista’s portfolio. “The value is having a relationship with someone that owns so much enterprise software that aligns with our strategy,” CFO Cameron Bready said.