13th August 2016

BPS grabs 'go-to' guide  

THINGS just got entertaining for Gold Coast-based global trade exchange business BPS Technology, the parent company of Bartercard.

BPS raised $27.5 million to fund the purchase of Entertainment Publications, a restaurant and activity guide that provides discounts from restaurants, hotels and attractions in Australia and New Zealand.
CEO Trevor Dietz said the publication is the "go-to" guide in the entertainment sector and the purchase offered BPS an avenue for greater global growth.

"The acquisition comes with global distribution, with the exception of the US and Canada," he said.
"BPS already operates in those two markets but this acquisition gives us the opportunity to take the Entertainment Publications brand into new markets, although our immediate focus is to bed down the acquisition over the next year." Mr Dietz said Entertainment Publications will become a third arm of the BPS business alongside Bartercard, the world's largest trade exchange, and bucqi, its loyalty platform.

Listed Southport-based BPS will pay $22.5 million cash and 2.6 million BPS shares for the acquisition.
Mr Dietz said the $27.5 million placement, underwritten by Moelis Australia, was "heavily over-subscribed".

"We gained the significant addition of 25 high-quality institutional investors," he said.
Moelis Australia offered shares at 94¢ each. Investors will be issued 29.3 million shares under the placement.

Eligible shareholders also will be invited to take part in a share purchase plan of 15,000 shares at 94¢ a share.

BPS shares closed 4¢, or 3.9 per cent lower, at 98.5¢.

Mr Dietz said the acquisition of the business-to-consumer platform would boost BPS with FY17 revenue growth of 118 per cent and EBITDA growth of 49 per cent.

He said it would give the BPS group access to a network of 36,000 SMEs, 18,000 not-for-profit clients, and 550,000 paying customers.

Mr Dietz said BPS "sought out" Entertainment Publications owner Ben Johnson, who has been with the business for 21 years, because it believed the addition of the guide offered significant growth potential for BPS.

"Ben Johnson liked the way as a payment platform provider we channel technology for SMEs to bring customers a profit," Mr Dietz said.

"The purchase came with $9.2 million cash in hand, with revenue already earned to March 2017 through the sale of the book." Mr Johnson, who will remain as chairman of Entertainment Publications, said the two businesses "share the same culture and values"."They (BPS) share the same vision for providing marketing solutions to businesses, value to customers and support to community organisations and the charitable sector," Mr Johnson said. 

Source: The Gold Coast Bulletin
Byline:  Jenny Rogers