Hi-Media Looking To Sell Its Micropayments Business

French content, advertising and payments firm Hi-Media says: “Given the tremendous opportunities offered by the e-payment market dynamism, (the company) has asked the investment bank NIBC Bank to study different possible industrial and financial partnerships with respect to its leading micropayment platform Allopass and its e-wallet Hipay.”

The company did not name any suitors or potential partners or say whether it had received any offers. One theory: French newspapers, who have partnered to create a joint paid kiosk initiative across multiple platforms.

Hi-Media commented in November: “After the video games and professional information universes, (paid content opportunities) tend to develop themselves into the media industry.”

With so much recent interest in paying for content and services, Hi-Media seems to be putting its technology in the shop window.

Allopass is a system for buying digital content, works primarily by customers requesting a purchase code via SMS and is used by French operators including the Leboncoin.fr classifieds site. Hipay is a wallet in which customers can deposit money from credit cards.

Hi-Media operates as a special-interest content publisher, with sites including jeuxvideo.com, blogorama.fr, toutlecine.com and actustar.com; operates the Fotolog photo sharing site; sells adverts on its own site network and for third-party sites; and has lately been building out a third leg of the group…

Payments is the smallest but now fastest-growing part of Hi-Media’s business – Q3 income from that division grew 40 percent over a year to €21.7 million this way.