Gensar Holdings Inc. has acquired the assets of FirstNet Corp., a third-party point of sale processor that specializes in back-end accounting and settlement services to merchants.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition will allow Gensar, a three-year-old company that focuses on the front-end merchant processing needs like draft capture and authorization, to provide an end-to-end solution to merchants who want to accept plastic.

"We were looking for this capability for a long time," said Bipin C. Shah, chief executive officer of Philadelphia-based Gensar. "We can offer better pricing," he said, because retailers won't have to go through "two gyrations of setting up contracts.

"We will now capture, authorize, process, settle, and have the money in their accounts by the next morning."

The Tampa, Fla.-based transaction processing subsidiary of Gensar, known as Gensar Technologies, processed 249 million transactions in 1994, a 21% increase from the previous year, the company said. It supports more than 85,000 merchant terminals.

The acquisition of Dallas-based FirstNet adds approximately 15,000 terminals to the Gensar network, as well as back-end processing support.

FirstNet, which will retain its name and employees, becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Gensar. Its Dallas facility will continue to run, and will eventually be electronically connected to the Tampa facility.

"Merchants are looking for simplicity," said Richard G. Lyons Jr., executive vice president and chief operating officer of Internet Inc., the Reston, Va.-based company that operates the Most electronic banking network.

"Usually merchants want the back-office relationship with whoever drives the terminals," added Mr. Lyons. FirstNet is a good addition to Gensar's platform, he said; it makes Gensar "a total-solution provider."

While Gensar currently processes point of sale payments for just about every category of merchant that accepts plastic, it has a particular interest in retailers that may be new to card-based payment options.

The idea of one-stop shopping should appeal to these merchants, said Mr. Shah.

"Many retailers asked us to shop around for settlement and collections services for them," he said. "Now we have it to offer to them. Not having it prevented us from getting some business we wanted."

Mr. Shah says Gensar continues to be acquisition-minded.

"We're looking for good product acquisitions," he said, adding that he wants to bolster the businesses in which Gensar already operates as well as explore other complementary businesses.

One option could be software that tracks customer loyalty to particular merchants.

"We're looking into a solution that captures purchasing information and gets it in a form that the retailers can use," said Gary T. Staub, the Gensar senior vice president who put together the FirstNet deal.

He also mentioned the possibility of acquiring a business that makes or markets point of sale terminals.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.