Canada Post’s epost buys bill delivery service from BCE Emergis

Roger Couldrey, president and chief executive officer of epost, said the deal should accelerate the adoption of electronic mail delivery and bill payment because it consolidates services for customers and offers greater value to financial institutions that use the service.

The Globe and Mail
July 9, 2004

Canada Post’s epost buys bill delivery service from BCE Emergis
Simon Avery

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Canada Post's epost has acquired BCE Emergis Inc.'s on-line bill delivery service, webdoxs, for $14.5-million, combining the country's two largest electronic mail carriers into one company with close to one million subscribers.

The deal means that almost 10 million Canadians who bank on-line now have the option of cancelling regular brown-envelope delivery of their major bills.

Roger Couldrey, president and chief executive officer of epost, said the deal should accelerate the adoption of electronic mail delivery and bill payment because it consolidates services for customers and offers greater value to financial institutions that use the service.

As competitors, epost and webdoxs split most of the market, forcing many consumers to use both services or to forgo electronic delivery and payment of some bills. Epost says it will now be able to deliver 70 per cent of the regular monthly bills and documents households receive, including phone, cable, hydro, Visa or MasterCard correspondence. In addition, because epost is owned by Canada Post, the firm can cancel physical delivery of bills that are paid on-line. Webdoxs, as a private company, was not able to offer customers this benefit.

The new combined service should be available to consumers in about six months, epost said. The company's on-line billing service is available today through major banks' websites, on-line portals such as Sympatico.msn.ca, and Yahoo.com, and through Inuit Inc.'s financial management software.

BCE Emergis, a Montreal-based e-commerce company that provides payments and claims-processing services to the health and finance sectors, said the sale of webdoxs will allow it to focus these areas. The firm was a high-flier during the Internet boom, worth more than $10-billion based on a share price that briefly soared to $189.50 in February, 2000. But it has not posted an annual profit and revenue has dropped by half in the past two years to $334.5-million in 2003. In the spring, communications giant BCE Inc. sold its majority stake in BCE Emergis at a loss after an unsuccessful four-year marriage.

Shares of BCE Emergis closed down 4 cents yesterday to $3.71 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


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