Gift card distributor and Safeway Inc. subsidiary Blackhawk Network filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering (IPO) that could raise as much as $200 million for the innovative prepaid card company. Blackhawk did not disclose the number of shares to be offered or the price range for those shares.
Blackhawk will be issuing Class A common stock for the IPO and will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "HAWK." The IPO will be managed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., with Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG helping to underwrite it.
It seems like an opportune time for Safeway to spin off Blackhawk. In the SEC filing, the distributor laid out its recent track record. In 2012, it processed 216 million transactions with a load value of $8.5 billion. It facilitates gift card sales for over 500 retailers in the United States primarily through more than 100,000 active retail distribution locations.
Blackhawk noted that its distribution network provides the distributor with "frequent access to a large number of consumers."
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts unsealed an indictment against two California men accused of a fraud scheme involving Subway restaurants and gift cards. The accused reportedly hacked into Subway POS systems to add at least $40,000 in value to Subway gift cards. The men then allegedly used the cards to make purchases at Subway outlets and also sold the cards online.
According to the indictment, 46-year-old Shahin Abdollahi and 35-year-old Jeffrey Thomas Wilkinson, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., and Rialto, Calif., respectively, conspired to remotely hack into the POS systems of at least 13 Subway locations beginning in approximately 2011. Abdollahi was a former Subway franchise owner in Southern California and later operated POS Doctor, which sold and installed POS systems for Subway franchises in the United States.
The alleged co-conspirators were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and wire fraud, and one count of wire fraud. If convicted, the defendants could each face up to 20 years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release.
In a March 19, 2013, talk before the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), said technological improvements at FinCEN are helping the agency combat money laundering schemes. She reported that improved processes have translated into over 50 percent match rates of suspected activity reports (SARs) and currency transaction reports (CTRs) sent in by financial institutions (FIs).
Calvery said that in the fall of 2012, FinCEN began rolling out a key component in the agency's IT Modernization Program to improve its ability to analyze of the reports and make its data available to federal and state agencies, including law enforcement and regulators. She noted that FinCEN analysts sift through data from the millions of reports that FIs send to FinCEN annually.
"For example, our advanced data matching algorithms have allowed us to increase match rates between CMIRs [reports of international transportation of currency or monetary instruments], CTRs, and SARs by over 50 percent in some jurisdictions," Calvery said. "This gives us insight into dollar flow from a foreign jurisdiction to the point the dollars are deposited into a U.S. bank, from which we can work to ultimately identify the foreign beneficiary of a wire emanating from the account."
An Incentive Research Foundation survey conducted by the Aberdeen Group reported that 55 percent of survey respondents indicated that noncash incentives and rewards, such as prepaid cards, are a "vital component" of sales performance management.
Prepaid card provider NetSpend Holdings Inc. and ACE Cash Express Inc., the check cashing chain store through which NetSpend distributes its cards, donated $483,896 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. ACE and NetSpend have reportedly donated more than $2 million to NBCF over the past six years.
Internet filtering software provider Sosvia Inc. launched in Mexico a prepaid card for its Saint App. The app filters sexually explicit and erotic content online. The one-time use card is used to buy a one-year license for the software. Once the license expires, app users have to purchase another card to continue the license. Distribution of the cards via retail chain stores will take place in several phases, with the cards expected to be available in Mexico at over 12,000 locations in total, including 7-Eleven Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. locations.
TransCard LLC, a provider of prepaid products to FIs, introduced the Student Prepaid Card. The company said the card is ideal for high school students heading to college.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based prepaid card software developer and licensor VendTek Systems Inc. said in its 2013 fiscal first quarter financial statement that its revenue declined by $3.5 million (or 14.4 percent) compared with the same quarter last year. "Our results for the past several quarters has demonstrated the anticipated reduction in transactional volume of our Canadian prepaid wireless business," said VendTek President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Buchanan.
Prepaid mobile telecommunications firm IDT Corp. joined with processor Fiserv Inc. to expand the availability of international calling and walk-in bill payment services. Retailers that sell the IDT Boss Revolution payment platform will offer Fiserv's CheckFreePay walk-in bill payment services, while CheckFreePay agents will offer the Boss Revolution PIN-less international calling service.
At the World MasterCard Fashion Week held in Toronto, March 18 to 22, 2013, SelectCore Ltd. instant-issued personalized, MasterCard Worldwide-branded prepaid cards onsite to VIPs and visitors. Card designs featured event-related photography intended to capture the Fashion Week experience in a unique way, MasterCard said. The instant issuance printers were supplied by Datacard Group.
Atlanta-based regional wireless carrier Southern Communications Services Inc., doing business as SouthernLINC Wireless, entered an agreement with mobile virtual network operator Prepaid Wireless Wholesale LLC to sell the carrier's nationwide high-speed data, voice and messaging services within the company's regional service territory, which includes major metropolitan and rural areas of Alabama, Georgia, southeast Mississippi and northwest Florida.
The Western Union Co., along with six other companies, unveiled the Western Union Global Share platform, which enables the money transfer specialist to introduce new stored-value solutions in markets globally by partnering with regional companies.
The other partners are: U.K.-based multicurrency travel card provider and MasterCard subsidiary Access Prepaid Worldwide; U.S.-based provider of refund disbursements on prepaid cards Advent Financial; Western Union's Central American master agent AirPak Express; Buenos Aires, Argentina-based stored-value processor Credencial Argentina SA; Hong Kong-based prepaid travel and remittance provider Jade Payments; and U.S.-based prepaid program manager mFunds.
Mobile prepaid remote check deposit provider Chexar Networks Inc. tapped Bill Roese as the company's new Chief Risk Officer. Roese was formerly an executive at Fidelity Information Systems in various capacities, including risk and fraud management, data and analytics, and research and development. Roese is tasked with helping Chexar scale the business, lower costs and increase automated transaction approval rates.
London-based online payment provider Skrill promoted Neil Steinhardt, formerly Managing Director of paysafecard.com USA Inc, to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Skrill USA Inc. Skrill said the appointment is a pivotal step in rapidly expanding its North American footprint. Skrill acquired Austria-based mobile wallet and prepaid voucher paysafecard group.
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