Sovereign Wealth Corp., a Newport Beach, Calif., company building a marketing system for global companies, has agreed to buy a mobile marketing and payment system from eAccounts Inc.
Michael Levinsohn, Sovereign's chief executive, said the CellCard system, would enable his company to offer transaction processing in the United States.
"In each country, you have varying requirements by the banks and the mobile carriers. In Korea and Japan, payment is very advanced," he said in an interview Tuesday. "The United States lags from a payment point of view, but it's going to catch up very rapidly."
Sovereign, which Mr. Levinsohn called a shell holding company, announced the deal Monday. The price was not disclosed.
CellCard is an opt-in marketing system for mobile phones that businesses will be able to use to send customized messages to customers' phones.
Customers who reply to these messages will be able to buy products or services with a payment or debit card linked to their mobile phone account.
eAccounts, a San Diego merchant processor and Internet hosting service, has been developing the mobile technology for three years, said Matthew Pirvul, its CEO.
Though Sovereign Wealth is planning to use the service for mobile commerce, Mr. Pirvul said in an interview that the technology could also be used at the point of sale, for example to pay a restaurant bill, cab fare, or for person-to-person payments, as long as both parties to the transaction are CellCard users.
The deal for CellCard is Sovereign Wealth's second this month. It also signed an agreement to buy Multimedia Solutions, a South African mobile marketing company. In May it signed a licensing agreement with Endless Rewards (Pty) Ltd., an Australian developer of a loyalty program.
Mr. Levinsohn is also the CEO of Mobicom Corp. of San Diego, which he said is pursuing a similar mobile marketing strategy in Asian markets. Mobicom and Sovereign Wealth have common investors and eventually plan to be a single company, he said. He said the CellCard deal could close within three weeks.