Mastercard buying SessionM to bolster loyalty, marketing

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Mastercard plans to acquire loyalty and marketing company SessionM to help its merchant clients build their brands and grow their businesses.

The card brand says it has entered an agreement with Boston-based SessionM to obtain the customer-engagement technology it provides for some major retailers, airlines, restaurants and consumer packaged goods companies.

Mastercard says the addition of SessionM will help companies around the world deliver personalized, real-time offers and comprehensive campaign measurement based on data-driven insights.

"Consumers’ expectations about their experiences with brands are changing," Francis Hondal, president of loyalty and engagement at Mastercard, said in a Tuesday press release. "We believe that the future of loyalty needs to be re-imagined to enable seamless digital experiences, and SessionM’s consumer-centric capabilities will help us broaden our value to marketers across sectors in exciting new ways."

The acquisition marks the sixth for Mastercard this year, making it the most active company in payments M&A deals for 2019. Two of those acquisitions came in the third quarter — digital bill-pay platform Transactis and Nordic payments service provider Nets Holding. Other transactions for Mastercard included cross-border payment provider Transfast, fraud prevention provider Ethoca, and point-of-sale financing provider Vyze.

"SessionM shares Mastercard’s commitment to creating experiences that drive lasting loyalty and meaningful, impactful customer engagement," Lars Albright, co-founder and CEO of SessionM, said in the release. “We look forward to joining the Mastercard family and to bringing our innovative technology to even more customers in more places around the globe."

Over the past decade, Mastercard has made a number of investments to advance its data-driven services for retailers and other brands. This includes the acquisition of Applied Predictive Technologies, a test and learn analytics tool that assesses the real impact of marketing, product and other decisions.

Financial terms of the agreement with SessionM were not disclosed and the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

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