Wednesday , December 11, 2019

Private-Equity Firm Advent International Merges Clearent With an ISV

Advent International, a private-equity firm with considerable experience in the payments space, announced Friday that it had acquired a majority stake in the big independent sales organization and payment processor Clearent LLC and merged it with FieldEdge, an independent software vendor serving home-services contractors. Advent had also bought FieldEdge.

Financial terms of the twin deals were not disclosed. Boston-based Advent owns a majority of the combined company, but Clearent’s first institutional investor, FTV Capital, also participated, as did other existing investors and senior managers of both companies. Atlanta-based FieldEdge will retain its brand and operate as an independent subsidiary of Clearent, Advent said.

Founded in 2005, St. Louis-based Clearent serves 45,000 merchants and is processing $16 billion in annualized payment volume. The deal furthers the company’s expansion into the so-called integrated payments space in which merchant acquirers and ISOs link their payment services to ISVs providing management and operational applications for businesses in specific industries.

“Advent is a leader in terms of facilitating growth and enabling execution in payments and software companies,” Clearent founder and chief executive Dan Geraty said in a news release. “I am confident they are the right partner for us as we look to continue to capitalize on the move toward integrated payments.”

In January, Clearent bought SPOT Business Systems LLC, an ISV serving the dry-cleaning industry. And just over a year ago, Clearent bought the merchant portfolio of Payment Alliance International, a deal that added 17,000 merchants to its file and increased its processing volume by 40%.

“Clearent represents an attractive platform to capitalize on the growth in integrated payments and, with the addition of FieldEdge and the support of our expertise and relationships in payments and software, is well positioned to execute on its strategy to grow organically and through acquisitions,” Advent International principal Bo Huang said in a statement.

FieldEdge provides software-as-a-service products for scheduling, pricing, dispatching and other business functions for heating-ventilation-air conditioning (HVAC) contractors, plumbers, electricians, and other home-services contractors. The company, which did not disclose its customer count, was founded in 1979 by a family HVAC company that began writing software to help manage the business. FieldEdge’s co-CEOs, Rameez Ansari and Steve Lau, said in a joint statement that “Clearent’s payments expertise will provide our customers with seamless payments capabilities that will add significant value to their businesses.”

Advent became a big player in the payments business in 2009 when it took a 51% stake in Fifth Third Bancorp’s processing subsidiary, Fifth Third Processing Solutions, which became Vantiv Inc. and now is Worldpay Inc. Advent says it has invested $2.5 billion in six payments companies and $3.1 billion in six software companies.

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