Payment processor Wex intends to acquire two other payment companies this year in a deal worth about $1.7 billion.

Wex CEO Melissa Smith Press Herald file photo

The Portland-based company filed notices with federal regulators Friday, stating its intent to acquire eNett and Optal by mid-year in a mostly cash deal. Optal is London-based company that specializes in optimizing business-to-business transactions, while Australia-based eNett provides payment services to the travel industry.

Wex was founded in 1983 to provide payment processing services for the trucking industry, and has grown since to include the travel and health care industries. In its last quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it expected to end 2019 with about $1.7 billion in revenues.

Chair and CEO Melissa Smith said in a statement that the pending deal will enhance Wex’s position in the global travel marketplace. Its board of directors has already approved the transactions, which still must undergo regulatory approvals.

“In particular, this transaction strengthens our position outside of the U.S., adds a unique but complementary product suite, and brings a talented team with expertise in operating in international markets,” she said. “We are confident this transaction will enable us to accelerate our growth by deepening and expanding our position in the global travel market, broadening our product offerings to more fully address the needs of our travel customers, and diversifying our business geographically while reducing our exposure to macro-economic factors.”

Wex is acquiring eNett from Travelport and its owners, affiliates of Siris Capital Group, and Elliot Management Corp.’s private equity affiliate, Evergreen Coast Capital Corp. Optal is being purchased from private shareholders.

The fast-growing company recently completed a new headquarters on Portland’s peninsula, and wants to build a new $50 million operations center in Scarborough at The Downs.


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