PORTLAND, Maine — Payment processor WEX announced late Monday that it has closed an approximately $360 million deal to acquire a majority stake in ExxonMobil’s European commercial fuel card business called Esso Card.
WEX, which has about 600 employees in Maine, joined with the European fuel management company Radius Payment Solutions for the deal that expands the South Portland company’s reach to nine countries in Europe.
“Expanding our presence in the European market through the addition of the Esso Card program enables us to broaden our international footprint, while laying the foundation for further expansion,” CEO Melissa Smith said in the announcement of the deal.
The company has sought to increase its international reach through a series of acquisitions in recent years, including the Brazilian payroll processor UNIK S.A. and Australian fuel card company Retail Decisions. This year, the company also reached an agreement with Shell Oil to process the petroleum giant’s fuel card payments in Europe and Asia.
Earlier this year, it decided to sell off an Oregon subsidiary for $50 million and reached into the market for processing health care payments with a $532.5 million purchase of the North Dakota-based Evolution1.
That acquisition prompted a credit downgrade to “BB-” from rating agency Standard & Poor’s, but analysts noted “we believe the acquisitions of Evolution1 and Esso Card would increase the company’s scale and diversity.”
The company reported in June it expected to pay $60 million for its stake in Esso Card in the third quarter of 2014 and another $300 million at the deal’s close. It estimated the card portfolio would add about $35 million to its annual revenue, which was about $717 million in 2013.