Coinstar (NASDAQ:CSTR) thinks it knows more than one way you will want to part with your change. Today, it announced a $235 million acquisition of a company called American Coin Merchandising.

American Coin Merchandising has quite possibly seen better days -- it brings vending machines and games to store fronts. Chances are, at least one of the stores you frequent has a "skill crane." Those are the machines where people try their darnedest to snag a plush animal or prize out of the glass box with a mechanical hook.

American Coin also provides candy and gum vending machines and video games, as well as some of those rides that sit outside stores.

Coinstar said it will fund the acquisition with new debt and will not assume any of American Coin Merchandising's debt. The deal is expected to be accretive to earnings this year, and it is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

Back in the winter, Bill Mann, who recommended Coinstar as a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick, explained why the company's future seemed a bit more promising, despite its loss of grocery heavyweight Safeway (NYSE:SWY) (where, I admit, I have enjoyed all of my exposure to the Coinstar method of monetizing a giant jar of change).

More recently, Fool contributor Mark Mahorney spoke of Coinstar's need to ensure future revenue growth potential by finding other ways to monetize spare change. His ideas for ways Coinstar could expand made more sense than this acquisition does.

In Coinstar's press release today (where it describes itself as a "market leader in self-service coin counting and a growing supplier of e-payment services"), it described the deal as a channel for diversification. I'm not sure that the cheesy wares we're talking about here really count as diversification with a positive impact on Coinstar's brand.

Maybe the aspect of this deal that makes the most sense is its potential to expand Coinstar's customer base, and perhaps pave the way for more coin-counting machines in more locations. American Coin has more than 167,000 machines in over 18,000 customer sites. Some of these retailers garner a lot of foot traffic, such as high-profile Coinstar target Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), which provided 44% of American Coin's revenues in 2003. Other spots include Kmart (NASDAQ:KMRT), and traveler's havens like Shoney's and Flying J Truckstops.

It seems to me that the only things the two companies really have in common are coins and the idea that they are expendable, though Coinstar turns them into meaningful cash. Furthermore, I'm surprised that Coinstar wants its name related to games of chance (not to mention cheap, plush toys) in a time when video and computer games are the real big deal, but obviously, Coinstar just wants everybody's spare change.

Want ideas and advice about how to accumulate more money to count? Consider adding this to your must-read list.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned, but, she has to admit, she's used Coinstar -- she's far too lazy to count and roll her own coins, and time is, after all, money.