Western Union Buys Canadian B2B Payments Firm

Western Union has agreed to buy Canada-based Custom House, an independent provider of business-to-business international payment solutions for small and medium enterprises (SME). The US$370m cash transaction is expected to close in the third quarter 2009, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Currently owned by Peter Gustavson and the Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill Partners, Custom House will become part of the Western Union Global Payments segment (formerly the consumer-to-business segment), and will continue to operate under its existing management team in Canada.

Christina Gold, president and chief executive officer of Western Union, said: “Custom House is a dynamic business and has a significant customer base in the cross-border payments market, which generates strong margins and cash flow. Western Union intends to grow this business by attracting new customers and entering new geographies.”

The acquisition of Custom House supports Western Union’s business strategy by:

  • Entering a new growth market and diversifying its product portfolio.
  • Furthering Western Union’s presence in the SME payment market.
  • Expanding its customer base.
  • Building a global line of business.
  • Establishing strong account-to-account transfer capabilities that complement Western Union’s existing cash-to-cash and account-to-cash expertise.


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