Banking and payment solutions company Green Dot Corp. announced it is acquiring Loopt Inc. for a total consideration of $43.4 million in cash. Green Dot is best known for prepaid debit cards, and this deal pole-vaults its growth into mobile and social.

Loopt is a geo-social network for people to share information about the friends, places and special deals that are in their vicinity. It holds several patents in order to achieve this, and they are applicable to the wider field of mobile marketing in the context of location-based messaging delivered real-time to a mobile handset. Green Dot said those patents will be important strategic assets as it pursues mobile business opportunities.

Loopt’s current headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. will be retained and become the home of Green Dot’s mobile technology and product development team. Approximately $9.8 million of the acquisition price is to be set aside as a retention pool for key Loopt employees.

Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of Loopt, said the current Loopt service will be shutting down but that its roughly 5 million current users will be given an easy way to export their Loopt location data. “This year, we (at Green Dot) will be releasing awesome new products with finance as a central component — we think our users will love what we’re working on,” he wrote on the company’s blog.

Steve Streit, chairman and CEO of Green Dot, said that Loopt has innovative mobile technology, market leading mobile programming capabilities and compelling intellectual property, while Green Dot has a large customer base, a robust enterprise-level financial services infrastructure and retail point-of-sale financial transaction capabilities deployed at major retailers nationwide.

“We believe that mobile phones have the potential to change the way people interact with their bank, control their money and pay for goods and services,” he said. “When Loopt’s assets are layered into Green Dot’s platform, we believe that a significant opportunity emerges for Green Dot to become a large-scale player in mobile technology solutions at the retail point of sale.”

Related links:

Loopt blog post –

Press release –