PMT Services Inc., which markets and services credit card authorization and payment systems for small merchants, said it has signed a letter of intent with an unspecified independent service organization to acquire a 2,000-account portfolio.

The portfolio represents $400 million in annual charge volume, with merchants about three times the size of PMT's usual merchant base, PMT said.

"This is a strategic acquisition for us," said Richardson M. Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer. "The portfolio is in a metropolitan market, and it gives us a sales presence for the future. It will allow the company we're pooling with to generate more scale to be more competitive."

The acquisition, scheduled to be completed Dec. 1, will bring PMT's merchant accounts to 103,000, the company said.

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