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    FleetCor Lands $45-Million Infusion

    Venture capitalists Summit Partners buys into the fleet-card company.

    ATLANTA -- FleetCor Technologies, provider of the Fuelman fleet-card network, has secured $45 million from Boston-based venture capitalist Summit Partners, underscoring a remarkable recovery for the company that only two years ago was, according to observers, on the brink of bankruptcy.

    "It's big news that we have this type of quality firm behind us," said FleetCor CEO Ron Clarke. "This is not only great news for us, but for the entire fleet-card business."

    With more than 90,000 customers, FleetCor is considered one of the largest providers of fleet purchasing cards, touting a vast network of independent dealers, convenience stores and cardlocks that accept the proprietary Fuelman card.

    With the infusion of capital, the 17-year-old company plans to embark on a massive expansion program aimed at recruiting major regional and national convenience stores into the fleet program. Moreover, FleetCor expects to step up investment in automation and technology, from integrating pay-at-the-pump with point-of-sale systems to implementing wireless technologies to tracking fleets en route to given destinations.

    Emphasizing the recruitment of c-stores, Clarke told CSNews Online, "There's a lot of leg work to win convenience store acceptance. It's not as if you walk up to someone and they sign up. C-stores ought to be on the lookout for our people because we're going after their business."

    By landing Summit Partners ? FleetCor's third financing partner ? the company enters into a relationship with a $6-billion company with investments in more than 230 companies representing wide-ranging interests.

    Additionally, the alliance also raises speculation that FleetCor could seek to go public within the next few years. Summit Partners has been involved in more than 75 initial public offerings. When asked, Clarke, who is credited with FleetCor's turnaround over the past two years, did not waver. "Our goal is to go IPO," he said.

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