Aaron's, Inc. Announces Strategic Expansion of Progressive
- Agrees to Acquire The HELPcard®, a Proven "Second Look" Sales Finance Platform with 32-Year Operating History, Established Portfolio and Strong Retail and Bank Relationships
- Launches Approve.Me, a Groundbreaking Solution for Retailers to Offer a Single Application Across the Full Spectrum of Finance and Lease Products
- New Products Expand Progressive's Addressable Market and Help Retail Partners Increase Revenues
ATLANTA - Sept. 22, 2015 // PRNewswire // - Aaron's, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leader in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories, today announced two products to leverage Progressive's best-in-class point-of-sale presence. These include an agreement to acquire Dent-A-Med, Inc. d/b/a The HELPcard®, which offers second look finance programs for near-prime customers, and the launch of Approve.Me, which provides a single application for all customers seeking both credit approval and lease options.
"The HELPcard® and Approve.Me have significant strategic benefits for our business," said John Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of Aaron's, Inc. "Our retail partners have been asking us for an integrated solution to serve customers who are between Progressive's lease offering and major banks' prime credit products. We believe these offerings will fill that gap by creating a 'one-stop shop' at the point of sale for our retail partners."
"The HELPcard® has a long history and strong track record and enables Progressive to offer financing solutions for customers with near-prime credit scores," continued Mr. Robinson. "Approve.Me is a new application that will give our retail partners a single point of entry for the entire application process, from prime credit to leasing options. It creates a much easier application process for consumers, enabling them to apply for several options as quickly as possible."
Aaron's has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding stock of Dent-A-Med, Inc. d/b/a The HELPcard® for approximately $55 million in cash on hand and the assumption of $44 million in debt. The HELPcard®, based in Springdale, Arkansas, will be operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Progressive Finance Holdings, LLC, which is a subsidiary of Aaron's, Inc. The transaction is expected to close within 45 days and not be significant to Aaron's earnings in 2015.
The HELPcard® subsidiary is expected to enable Progressive to drive incremental revenue and earnings growth. It offers retail partners, along with Progressive's existing product and the new Approve.Me platform, one source for financing and leasing transactions for below prime consumers. The HELPcard® will in turn benefit from Progressive's proprietary technology, infrastructure, and financial capacity.
Founded in 1983, The HELPcard® offers a variety of open-end financing programs originated through a federally insured bank. The programs have simple terms that are competitive with prime credit programs. With approximately $92 million in gross receivables as of August 31, 2015, The HELPcard® currently serves more than 700 merchant partners in over 1,400 locations.
- Enhanced Product for Retail Partners – The HELPcard® will enhance Progressive's best-in-class point-of-sale product with an integrated solution for near-prime customers. The HELPcard® has a centralized, scalable decisioning model with a long operating history, deployed through its established bank partners, and a sophisticated receivable management system.
- Higher Consumer Credit Quality – The HELPcard® primarily serves consumers with FICO scores between 600 and 700, which make up about a third of the U.S. population. These customers generally have greater purchasing power with stronger credit profiles than Progressive's current customers.
- Expanded Customer Base – In addition to complementing Progressive's traditional offering for existing and prospective retail partners, The HELPcard®'s strong relationships in consumer services offer an additional channel for longer-term growth.
Approve.Me is a proprietary platform developed by Progressive that integrates with retailers' point-of-sale systems and provides a single interface for all customers seeking credit approval or lease options, from prime, to second look, to Progressive's lease offering.
The platform combines multiple credit and leasing providers into one application using a single integration. Approve.Me is compatible with most primary or secondary providers and is designed to give retailers a faster and more efficient way to service customers seeking to finance transactions or secure a lease option.
"Progressive has an industry leading virtual lease-to-own solution with solid merchant relationships and a strong pipeline for new retail partners," said Ryan Woodley, Chief Executive Officer of Progressive. "The agreement to acquire The HELPcard®, coupled with the Approve.Me rollout, continues our path to drive innovation to serve more customers and generate more revenue for our retail partners. In addition, we have a high regard for Dent-A-Med founder Dr. Warren Center and his management team, and look forward to welcoming them to Progressive."
Benefits to Retail Partners
- Established Product – Approve.Me has been successfully piloted and is currently being used in over 2,000 retail doors.
- Increased Sales – Approve.Me's streamlined approach sends customer applications through each option, from primary, to second look, to Progressive's no-credit-needed lease option, quickly and seamlessly. This more efficient process typically results in higher overall approval rates.
- Ease of Use – By using a single application, Approve.Me reduces the time for the application and approval process from about an hour (for multiple applications) to just a few minutes.
- Improved Analytics - Approve.Me gives retail partners access to a comprehensive view of credit decisioning and lease options, thereby allowing partners to better analyze and improve their overall financing/leasing flow.
Aaron's will hold a conference call to discuss its agreement to acquire The HELPcard® and the launch of Approve.Me on September 22, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The public is invited to listen to the conference call by webcast accessible through the Company's Investor Relations website, investor.aarons.com, in the "Investor Relations" section. The webcast will be archived for playback at that same site.
About Aaron's, Inc.
Aaron's, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leader in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories, has more than 2,000 Company-operated and franchised stores in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. Aaron's was founded in 1955, is headquartered in Atlanta, and has been publicly traded since 1982. Progressive, a leading virtual lease-to-own company, provides lease-purchase solutions through more than 16,000 retail locations in 46 states. Aaron's, Inc. includes the Aarons.com, ShopHomeSmart.com, and ProgLeasing.com brands. For more information, visit www.aarons.com.
"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this news release regarding Aaron's, Inc.'s business that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as "will," "believe," "expect," "estimate," "anticipate," and similar terminology. These risks and uncertainties include such factors as our ability to promptly consummate the acquisition of Dent-A-Med and, thereby, execute on our strategy of offering The HELPcard® in order to gain an entry point into the "second look" sales financing market. In addition, there is the risk that we may not be able to successfully expand The HELPcard® as we currently anticipate and/or that our Approve.Me proprietary platform is not widely accepted by our retail partners. Other risks and uncertainties include the application of additional laws or regulations that may result in changes in the way our operations are regulated, which could expose us to increased regulatory oversight, more burdensome regulations and increased litigation risk. Furthermore, changes in general economic conditions, competition and pricing as well as risks related to the continued integration of our acquisition of Progressive and the execution and results of our new strategy (which are discussed in greater detail under "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014 as well as our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2015) could also cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements included in this press release. Statements in this release that are "forward-looking" include without limitation: statements regarding the strategic and financial benefits of The HELPcard® and Approve.Me platform for our business, the timing of the expected closing of the Dent-A-Med acquisition, and the benefits of the Approve.Me platform to Progressive's retail partners. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances after the date of this press release.
SOURCE Aaron's, Inc.
Sharon J. Lawrence
Director of Public Relations