Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Equinox Payments LLC, an entity formed by private equity firm The Gores Group in August 2011, is in transition. Equinox was formed as a result of an anti-trust settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and VeriFone Inc. The agreement required VeriFone to separate aspects of its business from Hypercom Corp. for its acquisition of Hypercom to be approved.
On Feb. 6, 2014, Toronto-based NBS Payment Solutions Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, acquired substantially all of Equinox Payments' assets for an undisclosed sum. Under the agreement, Equinox will continue to operate under its brand name in the U.S. market; Brookfield Equinox LLC will be the combined entities' moniker.
NBSPS President and Chief Executive Officer Drazen Ivanovic said at the time of the acquisition, "NBS Payment Solutions has operated in Canada for over 25 years and is excited about partnering with Equinox in the U.S. market." He added that the combined strength of the two companies will enhance Equinox's position in the U.S. payment terminal space.
Ivanovic believes NBSPS's positioning with its NOIRE product offerings will complement the Optimum, Apollo and L-Series Multi-Lane POS products manufactured and distributed by Equinox. He also feels that NBSPS' expertise in Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) chip card payments in the Canadian market will be valuable during the transition to EMV in the U.S. market.
Soon after the acquisition of Equinox was orchestrated, reports surfaced that Equinox had filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection with the Delaware Bankruptcy Court under the name EP Liquidation LLC.
Court documents later confirmed that after EP Liquidation filed its initial petition, Chapter 7 Trustee Charles Sanziale Jr. issued notice of a May 7 hearing to approve the motion to establish notice and service procedures; he set an April 30 deadline for receipt of any written objections to the granting of relief sought in this case.
Just how this case will impact the future of Equinox remains unclear, but in terms of the ownership transition under the acquisition agreement, Ivanovic issued this March 5 statement regarding the case: "Equinox Payments LLC changed its name to EP Liquidation LLC after completing the transaction to sell its assets to Brookfield Equinox. We understand that EP Liquidation has filed for bankruptcy protection.
"The EP Liquidation bankruptcy proceedings are in no way related to the business now operated by Brookfield Equinox LLC. We intend to maintain the Equinox brand and will continue to develop, market and support the full range of Equinox devices."
Equinox appeared buoyed by the potential for further expansion in the North American market. "NBSPS's success in product development and innovation provides a strong foundation for the combined operations of Equinox and NBSPS in North America," said Stuart Taylor, Vice President of Payment Solutions at Equinox.
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