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BCE Emergis Emerging as a Player

In a move that furthers its advance into the United States, Canada's BCE Emergis Inc. will acquire privately held InvoiceLink Corp. a provider of Web-based invoicing and payment solutions for B2B applications.

BCE Emergis said it will leverage the InvoiceLink technology to further develop its own B2B services in the e-health and financial services sectors. The deal also means that Montreal-based BCE Emergis will get to integrate the technology into its own e-commerce solutions.

BCE Emergis will acquire InvoiceLink for a purchase price of $88.3 million payable in Emergis shares and stock options. BCE Emergis said it will repay InvoiceLink's $5.3 million in debt.

BCE Emergis will issue shares and options representing 50 percent of the purchase price at the closing; the balance will be paid in three installments of shares on the anniversary dates of the closing.

Emergis shares are traded on the Toronto exchange; they were up 3.55 at 91.75 at mid-day.

"We plan to combine InvoiceLink's state-of-the-art technology with our electronic bill presentment expertise developed in the B2C market and to expand this offering in Canada," said Brian Edwards, president and CEO of BCE Emergis. "This technology will be a key success factor for our bank-centric strategy in the U.S. to address the financial services market."

"We believe the U.S. market is wide open," Edwards said in a conference call about the deal.

InvoiceLink's technology allows trading partners of a company to electronically receive and pay invoices over the Internet, dispute entire invoices or individual line items, pay selected invoices over the Internet, and view payment information and history. It also provides billers with an extensive back office system. The company's offices will remain in Greensboro, NC.

BCE Emergis markets a suite of core technologies for e-business in four vertical markets: finance, transportation, health and telecommunications.