After a period of inactivity, Intelidata Technologies Corp. got the ball rolling Friday for consolidation of Internet banking and bill payment technology companies when it bought Home Account Network Inc.

Intelidata purchased the parent Home Account Holdings Inc. and the network for 6.9 million shares of Intelidata stock, a transaction valued at a little more than $36 million based on Intelidata’s Thursday closing price of $5.25 a share. The stock closed Friday at $4.91, up 67% from a week earlier.

“This industry is reaching a mature stage where consolidations are going to be the order of the day,” said Intelidata’s chairman, Bill Gorog, during a conference call with investors Friday. The purchase came after a series of deals about two years ago when S1 Corp. acquired Edify Corp. and Q-Up Systems Inc. and Digital Insight bought nFront Inc.

Home Account is itself the product of an acquisition, having bought First Data Corp.’s First Data Direct online banking unit in a deal announced in May 1999. The union of the two companies gave Home Account relationships with a number of major credit card issuers, including Citigroup Inc. and the nonbank issuer Metris Cos., whose customers use Home Account’s system to view credit card account information, make transfers, or pay their bills.

The deal puts Intelidata in position to inherit Home Account’s more than 100 customers, including big name banking companies such as Bank of America Corp. and First Union Corp., Mr. Gorog said. It also will let Intelidata expand into credit card processing and help it shore up recurring revenues, a major goal the company set in the third quarter, when revenues shrank 92% from a year earlier, to $1.5 million, and the net loss grew 66%, to $2.8 million.

“The best news about [Home Account’s] revenue is that most of it is recurring revenue that we count on to build on quarter after quarter,” said Intelidata CFO Steve Mullins. “Over the past year we have talked about fixing the choppiness of our revenue stream by transferring our focus from big one-time deals” to recurring revenue.

Home Account served about 300,000 credit card users at the end of 2000, said Charles A. White, former Home Account president and CEO who is to join Intelidata as vice chairman.

“This opportunity alone could be overwhelming,” said Al Dominick, Intelidata president and CEO. Those credit card “users have an imperative to use the Internet for both account acquisition and account servicing.”

Melding Intelidata’s electronic bill payment and presentment services with the real-time interfaces Home Account has to First Data Corp.’s credit card processing system offers Intelidata another big opportunity. The union of these capabilities should help Intelidata become a provider of services to help billers, particularly credit card companies, present their bills on the Internet.

Rumors had swirled that Home Account Network would be sold last May when the company fired about 20% of its work force. At the time, however, David Kaplan, chief financial officer of Home Account, said the company was not for sale.

“The financial markets shifted quite a bit over the last year,” explained Mr. White, the former Home Account CEO. “That prompted us to begin looking at partnership opportunities.”

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