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Forte Payment Systems launches acceptance platform

BY Dan Berthiaume

Allen, Texas — Forte Payment Systems is launching Forte Checkout, an intuitive platform for online payment acceptance that supports electronic check in addition to credit and debit card payment methods. Forte Checkout integrates seamlessly and securely to applications that need payment handling capabilities.

The solution can also be configured to operate in e-wallet mode that allows payers to save their address and payment information for a streamlined checkout process when making future payments. Other features include authentication, total user experience control, swipe support, and tokenization.

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Review world rocking after Bazaarvoice decision

BY CSA STAFF

Consumer reviews provider Viewpoints is poised to acquire PowerReviews from Bazaarevoice after a court agreed with the Department of Justice that Bazarrevoice’s acquisition of PowerReviews two years earlier was anticompetitive.

Bazaarvoice and Viewpoints said they entered into a non-binding letter of intent whereby Viewpoints would acquire substantially all of the assets associated with Bazaarvoice’s acquisition of PowerReviews. Terms of the proposed agreement were not disclosed and the deal requires approval from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. However, when Bazaarvoice’s acquisition of PowerReviews was first announced in May 2012 the largely all stock deal was valued at $168 million. The acquisition was announced three months after Bazaarvoice had completed a successful initial public offering of nearly 11 million shares priced at $12 a share, which netted the company proceeds of $116 million.

The Department of Justice disputed the combination on anticompetitive grounds and by January of 2013 Bazaarvoice was faced with the onerous task of defending the merits of the deal against the federal government. One year later, the court in the Northern District of California sided with the Department of Justice in a ruling that was a major blow for Austin-based Bazaarvoice. The company founded in 2005 had yet to generate an annual profit by the end of its most recent fiscal year and through the nine month period ended Jan. 31, 2014 had posted a loss of $39.5 million on revenues of $138 million.

"Since the district court issued its ruling in favor of the Department of Justice, we have been engaged in a thoughtful process to identify and reach agreement with an appropriate entity to which we could divest the PowerReviews business consistent with the court’s decision and views expressed by the DOJ," said Gene Austin, CEO and president of Bazaarvoice. "Viewpoints is an established, committed ratings and reviews provider with experience serving both the consumer and business markets. After a thorough assessment, we believe this divestiture proposal achieves the best possible outcome for our clients, shareholders and employees."

According to Viewpoints founder and CEO Matt Moog, the PowerReviews technology platform provides a world-class, scalable and easy-to-manage platform to hundreds of leading brands and retailers.

“The opportunity to add the PowerReviews platform alongside our recently-launched Viewpoints Pulse service will extend our ability to serve the enterprise market, which promises to create significant additional value for brands and their end customers as we scale our ability to collect reviews of their products and services,” Moog said.

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Sports Authority expands presence in Puerto Rico

BY CSA STAFF

Sports Authority opened two locations in Puerto Rico — on in San Juan and the other in Carolina — early this week, bringing the total number of stores on the island to three. The stores are located in the Plaza Las Américas and Plaza Carolina shopping centers, respectively.

According to the company, both locations are equipped with improved store designs for effortless navigation and offer extensive product selections. The stores will feature specialty sport shops with products from brands including Nike, Under Armour, Puma, Adidas and Columbia.

“We are excited to celebrate our two newest Puerto Rico locations in San Juan and Carolina,” said CEO Michael E. Foss. “Sports Authority admires Puerto Rico’s sporting legacy and we are dedicated to providing great value and outstanding service to all the families, athletes and fans in the San Juan and Carolina communities. We believe in bringing together communities through the power of play, and we encourage everyone to discover the good of sport.”

Over the weekend, Sports Authority marked the grand openings by awarding the first 250 customers Saturday, April 5 and the first 125 customers Sunday, April 6 with Mystery Bucks that ranged up to $500 in value. Hourly $100 gift card drawings also took place from noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Customers also had the opportunity to enter for a chance to win a $500 Sports Authority shopping spree.

The specialty retailer recently hired more than 175 employees for the Plaza Las Américas and Plaza Carolina stores, for a total of more than 315 jobs in Puerto Rico.

The company is also touting The League — its loyalty program, which gives members a point for every dollar spent. Within a quarterly period, members who earn 100 points or more will receive 5% back on all in-store purchases.

The regular store hours of the Plaza Las Américas store are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and the regular hours of the Plaza Carolina store are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

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