Augeo, a St. Paul-based provider of consumer and employee loyalty programs, sold a division that serves the financial services industry for $140 million.
The unit, called Augeo FI and based in Naperville, Ill., is being acquired by Lightyear Capital, a private equity firm based in New York. It will operate Augeo FI as a stand-alone company in its portfolio of financial services firms.
Augeo was founded in 1999 to create customer loyalty programs for the restaurant industry. It had its roots in the family restaurant business of Augeo’s chief executive David Kristal. The company now provides a variety of incentive programs to over 300 clients across a range of industries, including food, financial services, insurance, telecom and health care.
The Augeo FI division was formed in 2012 through acquisition of two companies. It provides credit and debit-card points programs for regional banks and credit unions. The business has approximately 85 employees.
“The sale of this business unit, which represents approximately one-third of our overall business, marks a first for Augeo, as we have been hyper-focused on growth and strategic acquisitions for many years,” Kristal said.
The Augeo FI business was growing 30 percent annually, he said. The broader company has had a 35 percent compound annual growth rate.
Michael Knoop, who joined Augeo in 2006 and has been CEO of Augeo FI since 2015, will run the new business for Lightyear.
Kristal agreed to serve on the board of directors of Augeo FI under Lightyear’s ownership. He said he anticipates the two companies will continue to work closely together.
Augeo, a private company, will use proceeds of the sale to offer a return to long-term shareholders, to clean up its balance sheet and for capital spending.
“Our No. 1 mission is to double down on the growth of the remaining Augeo,” Kristal said. “Now to have investment capital to grow that more rapidly is very exciting for us.”