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Lightspeed POS Inc.'s stock price surged Thursday after the company announced its biggest acquisition to date and reported financial results well ahead of expectations.

The Montreal software company, which provides internet-based point-of-sale and payments products for retail, hospitality and golf companies, said it had signed a definitive agreement to buy smaller New York-based rival ShopKeep Inc. for about US$440-million. It will pay US$145.2-million in cash and cover the balance by issuing 9.5 million shares. Lightspeed had US$513.1-million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents at the end of September after raising US$332-million in gross proceeds in its U.S. initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange earlier that month.

ShopKeep is the fifth acquisition by Lightspeed since it went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in March, 2019, and valued at twice the amount it paid for the previous four, combined. The 12-year-old New York company, which had previously raised US$137-million in venture capital, generated about US$50-million in revenue from more than 20,000 customers in the United States in the past 12 months and handled gross transactions of about US$7-billion on their behalf. That’s roughly equal to one-quarter of Lightspeed’s size.

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CEO Dax Dasilva, on a conference call with analysts, called the acquisition “a landmark combination in our space” that will enable Lightspeed to generate added revenues by offering a wider range of services to Shopkeep customers. The deal is expected to close by Dec. 31.

Many of Lightspeed’s customers were hit by the pandemic, but the easing of restrictions during the summer helped the company generate stronger-than-expected results. Lightspeed recorded US$45.5-million in revenue in the second quarter ended Sept 30, more than 10 per cent above average analyst estimates and its own projections. Lightspeed lost US$19.5-million, nearly double the previous year’s level.

Analysts more closely watch the company’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Lightspeed booked an adjusted EBITDA loss of US$2.8-million, which was an improvement over last year and better than expectations.

Lightspeed subordinate voting shares closed up 16.3 per cent at $52.85 on the TSX. They have more than tripled in value since the IPO.

The company said despite the challenges of the pandemic, it handled US$8.5-billion in gross transaction volumes for customers, up 56 per cent year-over year. That was driven by acquisitions as well as solid seasonal performance by customers that serve the bike and golf markets.

Excluding acquisitions, the company’s overall software and payments-handling revenue grew by 42 per cent year-over-year, with payments revenue alone increasing by more than 300 per cent. Lightspeed had more than 80,000 customers before the ShopKeep acquisition, up 3,000 from the first quarter.

Chief financial officer Brandon Nussey said in a release the quarter was “one of the most exceptional … in the history of Lightspeed, demonstrating not only that the business model is working, but also our potential for the long term.”

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BMO Capital Markets analyst Thanos Moschopoulos said in an interview “it’s pretty remarkable and indicative of their competitive position” that Lightspeed increased its customer count and expanded revenues from existing clients amid the pandemic. He said the company benefited from customers ditching legacy systems that don’t run over the internet for Lightspeed’s products, which enable merchants to serve their customers through a range of channels, including in-store and online.

But the company also warned a rise in COVID-19 cases and the return of lockdowns in some countries would hurt its customers. Lightspeed forecast third-quarter revenue of US$44-million to US$47-million and an adjusted EBITDA loss of US$8-million to US$10-million.

Before Thursday, Lightspeed’s stock had appreciated by more than 25 per cent this year, reflecting broad gains for tech companies during the health crisis.

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