PMT Services Inc. has purchased a company that fits with its continuing acquisition strategy.

Consultants and analysts say the Nashville-based independent sales organization is responding to market demands that it increase its internal growth rate, continue to make acquisitions, and diversify its product offerings.

Late last week PMT announced it had acquired another Nashville independent sales organization, IMA Payment Systems Inc.

PMT is "looking to beef up its internal growth prospects," said Richardson M. Roberts, PMT's chief executive officer. IMA "has always been a leader in the ISO family and will help PMT's ongoing consolidation strategy."

PMT said the acquisition of IMA's merchant portfolio will add 2,000 accounts. IMA's sales staff, which will be left intact, is expected to bring in 100 accounts each month. Terms of the deal were not released, except that it will be accounted for as a pooling of interests.

Baltimore-based Alex. Brown & Sons analyst Cato Carpenter said the IMA portfolio is a sound one, with small merchants that do $75,000 in card transactions a year-about twice the volume typical of PMT merchants.

"Analysts favor stock that grows internally," Mr. Carpenter said. PMT has "gotten the message and is trying to change strategy to acquire organizations that are able to add merchants through their own sales efforts."

The announcement came a week after PMT said it would acquire CVE Corp., a 4,000 merchant-account independent sales organization that authorizes and verifies checks.

In its fiscal 1997, which will end July 31, PMT has so far announced or completed 10 acquisitions or mergers with 38,500 accounts. PMT has a merchant portfolio of 125,000 accounts.

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