Last week, Wright Express Corp. (WXS) announced an agreement to acquire Fleet One - a fuel cards and fleet management information services provider - from private equity firms, LLR Partners and FTV Capital. The company will pay $369 million in cash for the purchase, which will be funded using its existing credit facility.
The acquisition is expected to culminate in the fourth quarter of 2012, subject to approval from regulatory bodies as well as other customary closing conditions. Merrill Lynch, a unit of Bank of America Corporation (BAC) acted as Wright Express’ financial advisor for the deal, while FT Partners was the same for Fleet One.
The adjusted net income, excluding one-time charges, of Wright Express is expected to increase immediately following the takeover. Moreover, the company is anticipated to gain $100 million in present value of tax benefits due to the deal.
The acquisition will significantly strengthen Wright Express’ fuel cards business as Fleet One has a strong footing in both over-the-road and local fleet markets, with about 210,000 active cards in circulation at present. These cards are accepted at 60,000 locations, out of which 6,700 are over-the-road locations.
The purchase deal will also enhance Wright Express’ operating scale. Further, it will help the company to venture into the U.S. and Canadian heavy truck markets, where Fleet One has a strong presence.
Wright Express, which competes with FleetCor Technologies, Inc. (FLT) and U.S. Bancorp (USB), has been working on augmenting its fleet business and other payment solutions to widen its international presence. Recently, the company announced the acquisition of a 51% stake in UNIK S.A. - a privately-held payroll cards provider based in Brazil - for a consideration of US$21.9 million (R$44.7 million).
Wright Express also holds the option to buy the remaining 49% stake over the upcoming three years. The acquisition marks Wright Express’ initial stride into the Brazilian market, which offers attractive opportunities for growth.
Earlier in May, Wright Express acquired CorporatePay – a company that offers corporate prepaid solutions to the travel industry in the United Kingdom - for US$27.8 million (GBP 17 million).
Wright Express carries a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating.Read the Full Research Report on USB
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