Fintech deal: USATech buys Cantaloupe Systems for $85M

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The USA Technologies home page, announcing the Malvern company’s agreement to buy a San Francisco-based rival.

Shares of USA Technologies Inc., Malvern, hit a 10-year high of $6.75 in early trading Tuesday after the mobile- and cashless-payments company said it agreed to pay $85 million ($65 million cash, the rest in USAT shares) for a competitor, San Francisco-based Cantaloupe Systems Inc.

Cantaloupe provides cloud and mobile solutions “for vending, micro markets, and office coffee service” in Canada, Australia and South America, along with the United States.

The acquisition “comes as brick-and-mortar retailers continue to struggle with how technology is changing the retail landscape, shifting consumer demands and expectations,” USA Tech CEO Stephen Herbert said on his blog. “Consumers want faster, easier, customized and convenient retail experiences.”

The business has expanded from vending machines, Herbert added: Customers now include “everything from ordering kiosks for Starbucks coffee to key-cutting machines at Home Depot” — anyplace quick automated payments can replace human workers.

If the deal is completed later this week as scheduled, USA Tech will combine its “market-leading” ePort Connect platform (and QuickConnect developer API Web developer service) with Cantaloupe’s SeedCloud services into a single “unified platform,” Herbert added in a separate statement. USA Tech also will gain access to Cantaloupe customers in Australia, Canada and South America.

By combining, the firms say they expect to cut costs, boost sales, and share value.

The buyer also will take on $1.8 million in Cantaloupe debt. The firms expect to close the deal by Friday. William Blair & Co. provided financial advice. Lurio & Associates P.C. and lawyers at BallardSpahr LLP of Philadelphia and at RatnerPrestia advised the buyer.

“Cantaloupe’s award-winning, proven logistics and cloud technology, coupled with USATechnologies’ market-leading, robust and secure payment capabilities will bring a truly distinctive, turn-key enterprise solution to our market,” Cantaloupe CEO Mandeep Arora said in a statement. “USA Technologies’ financial strength and industry footprint of approximately 13,000 customers will enable us to drive mainstream adoption of our technology.”

The sale price is nearly four times the $22 million raised by Cantaloupe over the years, though payoff for early investors has been long in coming. The company was founded in 2004 with half a million dollars in initial capital, raised $5.4 million in 2006, added $12.4 million from Global Environmental Capital and Foundation Capital in 2010, and topped it off with $4 million from Foundation in 2015, according to data compiled at CrunchBase.