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Competitors and independent sales organizations are expressing mixed feelings about Nautilus Hyosung Inc.'s pending purchase of Triton Systems of Delaware Inc. (CardLine, 7/30). ISOs buy ATMs from both companies, and  Nautilus Hyosung ownership will improve the quality of Triton's ATMs, which in some cases is poor, according to one ISO executive. Still, some insiders are concerned about the deal's potential effects. Warren Cato, treasurer of the National Association of ATM ISOs and Operators, a Marietta, Ga.-based trade association, worries about the "monopoly" the purchase would create. The combined companies would control 70% to 85% of the $100 million off-premise ATM manufacturing market, according to industry observers and an off-premise ATM manufacturing executive. The agreement is scheduled to close in the third quarter. "I am glad Nautilus Hyosung bought the company and people are still working, but when there is a monopoly¬ prices go up and investment in new technology goes down," Cato tells ATM&Debit News, a CardLine sister publication. Bill Dunn, vice president of sales for Tranax Technologies Inc., a Newark, Calif.-based ATM maker, agrees the companies' combined market dominance could enable them to dictate prices. "I have real mixed feelings about this. It's like watching my mother- in-law drive off a cliff in my new car," Dunn quipped. Nautilus Hyosung's pending purchase of Triton would improve the quality of Triton's ATMs, says Scott Chimento, president and founder of World Wide ATM, a Cincinnati-based ISO that buys Nautilus Hyosung and Triton ATMs. "Triton does not manufacture very good ATMs, and Nautilus Hyosung will improve Triton's quality," Chimento says. Triton took exception to that assessment of its machines. "Plenty of U.S. ISOs are loyal Triton customers and/or loyal Nautilus Hyosung customers," says James Phillips, Triton director of North American sales. "We see the merger as a way to capitalize on each company's unique strengths in the marketplace." The purchase also would enable World Wide ATM to secure better sales prices on Triton ATMs, Chimento says, adding that "I buy very few Tritons, so I can't get as good of a deal on them." Daniel Gardner, CEO of Select-A-Branch, a King of Prussia, Pa.-based ISO and ATM network, says Nautilus Hyosung's purchase of Triton is a "big win" for Select-A-Branch, which buys its ATMs from Triton. "Triton's management changes and layoffs told us Triton's future was uncertain," Gardner says. "Nautilus Hyosung is part of a company that is strong financially." Nautilus Hyosung is a subsidiary of Hysoung Corp., a $7 billion diversified manufacturing company based in Seoul, South Korea. Cardtronics Inc. and TRM Corp., the nation's two largest ISOs, declined to comment on the sale.

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