Care Concepts to Integrate Auction Business With IBill

Rhett Pardon
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — Care Concept’s completed acquisition of iBill this week is expected to expand the third-party processor’s operations into the auction business, company officials say.

"Similar to the combination of PayPal and eBay the acquisition of iBill provides our auction operations with an exciting strategic solution to vertically integrate online payment services into our auction environment," Care Concept President Gary Spaniak Jr. said.

Care Concepts Inc. said it had completed its acquisition of iBill and will consolidate its Pompano Beach, Fla., radio and online auction operations into the iBill facility, a 50,000-square-foot headquarters and data center in Deerfield Beach, Fla., where it employs approximately 200 people.

Care Concepts in July agreed to acquire Media Billing LLC and Internet Billing Co., collectively known as iBill, from Penthouse International for $55 million in an all-stock deal.

As a result of the transaction, Penthouse will own 19.9 percent of Care Concepts.

The 8-year-old credit card processor recently has focused on various growing Internet content categories such as online subscriptions, music, dating and video games and is implementing an expansion into categories like online travel and online auctions.

The company last month debuted a phone transaction processing platform called WebPhone that gives consumers the ability to purchase monthly recurring subscriptions using their telephone.

IBill also announced several product enhancements customized for web merchants.

“The launch of these system upgrades and new products once again proves that iBill is back on track,” iBill spokeswoman Cathy Beardsley told XBiz last month. “Since March of this year, iBill has redoubled its investment resources and continues to execute a plan to deliver the most competitive and functional services to our customers.”

Beardsley said WebPhone is designed to eliminate the need to purchase a single subscription multiple times and is an enhancement of iBill’s existing Web 900 product.

“[It is an] alternative for consumers who may be wary of submitting a credit card payment online,” Beardsley said. “This secure service is completely anonymous and all subscriptions are billed directly to the consumer’s phone account rather than a card, giving them an extra layer of protection."

Beardsley also said that the company also revamped its commerce management interface, allowing merchants to use a single password for all iBill applications instead of several passwords that are application specific.

Web merchants can now configure their account to receive an electronic posting to their own internal reporting system, notifying them of a consumer sign-up, cancellation, refund, revoke, chargeback or re-bill, Beardsley said.

“Now written in a modular format, the new [interface] will allow iBill to continue to develop enhancements and new functionality at a much faster rate,” Beardsley said. “We plan to consistently improve and upgrade all of our proprietary technology so that merchants can continue to handle complex operations with unprecedented speed and reliability.”

IBill also said it would streamline the current sign-up process for participants in its RevShare affiliate management program. The enhanced program offers single payouts to RevSharers for all sites to which they drive traffic, as well as wire payments.

Beardsley said that 78 percent of iBill’s revenues are from adult entertainment content. In 2003, iBill averaged 1.2 million transactions per month and completed approximately $330 million in gross transactions.

IBill was acquired by Penthouse in March from Norcross, Ga.-based InterCept Inc. through its Media Billing LLC division, which purchased the company with $700,000 in cash, $800,000 in a short-term loan and the assumption of $22 million in debt.

Care Concept’s Spaniak said the iBill acquisition will help the publicly held company in its growth.

"The transaction [will] dramatically increasing our revenues and growth opportunities," he said.

Care Concept shares declined by 3 cents on the American Stock Exchange Wednesday in midday trading to $6.05.