Fuel card marketer sold for $369M

Maine-based company snaps up local firm that has grown network 50% in four years

A Maine company has agreed to pay $369 million in cash for fuel card marketing firm Fleet One, which has been owned by a private-equity consortium for four years.

The price Wright Express is paying for Antioch-based Fleet One amounts to 6.6 times its $56 million in annual sales. Fleet One markets fuel cards and fleet management information services for over-the-road and local fleet markets. The company has 210,000 active cards that are accepted at 60,000 locations around the country. The latter number is up from about 40,000 when LLR Partners, FTVentures and some Fleet One executives bought the company from SunTrust Bank, which had assumed ownership when it snapped up National Commerce Financial in 2004.

"This is a unique opportunity to combine Fleet One’s strong brand and presence in the over-the-road market with Wright Express’ best-in-class product set to service the full spectrum of fleets,” said Michael Dubyak, chairman, president and CEO of Wright Express. “Fleet One’s over-the-road business will give us an immediate presence in the heavy truck market in the U.S. and Canada, while the blending of Fleet One and Wright Express’ small fleet and private label businesses should provide greater scale.”

Fleet One employs more than 200 employees locally. Execs at Wright Express (Ticker: WXS) say the deal will be immediately accretive to their profits after one-time charges and will produce about $100 million in tax benefits.