Merchant payment processing solutions provider Pipeline Data has signed a binding letter of intent to acquire Innovative Resource Alliance (IRA), the parent company of Falmouth, Mass.-based gift, loyalty and stored value solutions provider TenderCard, and West Palm Beach, Fla.-based retail merchant services provider Merchant Services Network (MSN). IRA has a significant small and midsize retail merchant customer base.

Once merged, Pipeline Data/IRA will acquire Nashville, Tenn.-based merchant services provider COCARD Marketing Group, which also deals largely in the small and midsize retail sector.

"With a greatly expanded base of more than 70,000 merchants immediately upon the close of the transaction and more than $30 million in projected 2007 EBITDA, we are now positioned to become a world-class payments company," MacAllister Smith, CEO of Pipeline Data, said in a statement. "The excellent long-term results IRA/COCARD have achieved in direct retail sales will combine with Pipeline's strong technology focus and established capabilities in e-commerce sales to provide us with the scale, distribution and depth of product offerings required to assume a leadership position in the U.S. payments processing market."