Companies that help online retailers sell to consumers around the world are proving to be attractive takeover targets.
The latest provider of cross-border e-commerce services to be acquired is Borderfree, which Pitney Bowes Inc. announced today it will buy for $395 million. The deal follows the December announcement by FedEx that it would acquire Bongo and UPS disclosing in October plans to buy i-parcel LLC. Like Borderfree, Bongo and i-parcel enable web merchants to fulfill orders to consumers in many countries.
Borderfree provides e-retailers in the United States and United Kingdom with a variety of services, including localizing e-retail sites for foreign consumers, showing prices in more than 60 currencies, handling customs clearance and fulfillment to more than 100 companies. Forty retailers in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500. They include Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 5), Macy’s Inc. (No. 7), Nordstrom Inc. (No. 19), Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 20) and HSN Inc. (No. 25).
Pitney Bowes, the maker of postage meters, has developed a portfolio of international e-commerce services in recent years that enables e-retailers to show shipping costs and customs fees to foreign consumers and to facilitate overseas shipments. One retailer in the Top 500, Planet Shoes (No. 467), lists Pitney Bowes as its provider of international services. Pitney Bowes also announced last year it would provide international e-commerce services to fashion e-retailer Bluefly Inc., No. 229.
“The acquisition of Borderfree not only makes sense for our clients, it accelerates our strategic vision to grow our company through expansion of our digital commerce businesses,” says Marc B. Lautenbach, Pitney Bowes’ president and CEO. “The combination of Borderfree’s cross-border e-commerce capabilities with our own solutions expands our portfolio of offerings and extends our global reach. Together, we have a significant opportunity to help our clients expand and grow by providing a comprehensive range of complementary, cross-border ecommerce solutions in the fast-growing global ecommerce marketplace.”
Borderfree, which raised $80 million in an initial offering of stock in March 2014, generated $125 million in revenue in 2014, Pitney Bowes says. Borderfree had a stock market value of just over $216 million at the time of the acquisition announcement, meaning that Pitney Bowes is paying a premium of over 80% to acquire the company. Borderfree has 253 employees and is headquartered in New York, with offices in Tel Aviv, Israel; Dublin, Ireland; and Brighton, England.
“We’re excited to join forces with Pitney Bowes,” says Borderfree CEO Michael DeSimone. “Pitney Bowes’ technology, commerce and logistics expertise will help accelerate our growth and the ability for our combined businesses to realize our full potential as a leader in the dynamic global ecommerce market.”
Bongo is listed as the provider of international services to seven retailers in the Top 500, FedEx one and UPS three, according to Top500Guide.com.