Hypercom Corp. today announced it has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with The McDonnell Group LLC that will provide payment processors, financial institutions and retailers globally with data-communication services for transaction-based applications. The venture, known as Phoenix Managed Networks LLC, will acquire and operate Hypercom’s HBNet transaction-transport business, according to the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based point-of-sale terminal provider. The Marietta, Ga.-based McDonnell Group is a technology-focused investment fund managed by Jack McDonnell, who will serve as CEO of Phoenix Managed Networks. McDonnell also is the founder and former chairman and CEO of Transaction Network Services Inc., a Reston, Va.-based provider of data-communication services. “HBNet is directly competitive with TNS,” notes McDonnell. “TNS was fortunate to become a dominant player at the time, but the market is looking for an additional provider.” Customers do not want to be locked into a single vendor relationship, he adds. Phoenix Managed Networks will be operational on Jan. 1 with a staff of 20 workers, including former TNS executives Mathew Mudd and Trevor Fall. McDonnell plans to grow the company over three years to roughly 100 workers domestically and another 30 to 40 in Europe, he says. “This joint venture will not only allow us to provide the hardware but additionally the [transaction] transport to all of our key customers,” says Philippe Tartavull, Hypercom CEO and president, noting the HBNet name will disappear.

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