A few big changes underway in the automated retail space: Coinstar, the operator of coin-counting kiosks that has now rebranded as Outerwall, is acquiring ecoATM for $350 million in cash. EcoATM operates its own kiosk network focused on taking used mobile phones, tablets and MP3 players for cash and has positioned itself, coincidentally, as the “Coinstar for used devices.” Outerwall was already an investor in ecoATM, which had raised $31.4 million in VC financing, plus another $40 million in debt. Because of the 23% stake that it already owns, that will be deducted from that $350 million pricetag.
EcoATM is also holder of the 2012 Crunchie for best clean tech startup.
The move is a sign of consolidation in the self-service retail space, and also a mark of how Outerwall has much bigger ambitions beyond simply turning your multitudes of pennies into more useful dollars — hence, also, the rebranding. It’s also a sign of how low-margin services like these are looking for ways to ramp up into higher value items, while at the same time providing a much-needed service in our highly disposable economy.
“With ecoATM, Outerwall will advance its evolution into multiple automated retail businesses and increase our exposure to the growing demand for refurbished products and mobile devices across the globe,” said J. Scott Di Valerio, chief executive officer of Outerwall, in a statement. “As evidenced by our growing investment in ecoATM over the last four years, we are confident that ecoATM’s innovative, environmentally minded business model will continue to resonate with today’s technology savvy consumers.”
More to come. Refresh for updates.