UK accounting software firm Sage is buying US payment processing company Verus Financial for approximately £184 million in cash.
Sage will acquire the Tennessee-based firm from Financial Technology Ventures and other shareholders.
Verus provides credit card and cheque processing services to over 100,000 for small and medium-sized businesses in the US, including speciality retailers, petrol stations, restaurants, property managers and motor dealerships.
The company made underlying operating profits of £12m in 2005 - a threefold increase on £4m in 2004 - on revenues of £36m.
Sage says that trials within its customers base have shown a clear demand for linking payment processing services with accounting software, so that dual data entry is eliminated and data quality is ensured. To realise this additional long-term revenue opportunity, Sage will integrate Verus services with its accounting software.
Paul Walker, chief executive, Sage, says: "Acquiring Verus expands our business management solutions into a new and growing market, where SMEs are showing clear demand for more automation of their business processes. For our existing customers, Verus will provide merchant payment services that can be linked to their existing Sage accounting software. For new customers, these new payment services, in addition to our payroll services and customer relationship management products, further broaden the appeal of Sage solutions beyond pure accounting."
The acquisition is expected to complete within the next month, subject to regulatory approvals.