Don't say you weren't warned. In its first-quarter earningsconference call back in April, financial software provider Online Resources (NASDAQ:ORCC) hinted heavily at a desire to make one or more small-scale acquisitions of privately owned companies operating in its sphere. And the idea makes sense. Online Resources' success on the earnings front has its stock trading at a high multiple to sales, transforming it into not just a representation of ownership rights in the company, but a form of currency admirably suited to rolling up tiny competitors.

Yesterday, Online Resources did just that. The company announceda part-stock, part-cash deal to acquire privately held Integrated Data Systems (IDS) for $5 million, plus the assumption of $300,000 in debt. From this Fool's perspective, the deal looks good for both acquirer and acquired.

Online Resources has in the past noted how many small-company CEOs fear the high cost of doing business as a stand-alone public company in the Sarbanes-Oxley era. With the cost of "SOX" compliance running into the high-six and low-seven figures even for small companies, going public on their own has become not just a bad option -- it's now simply unaffordable for many companies earning revenues in the low-million dollar range. Incidentally, that's one of the rationales that was cited in the recently announced buyout of InteliData (NASDAQ:INTD) by Online Resources competitor Corillian (NASDAQ:CORI). InteliData just couldn't shoulder the cost of SOX compliance on its own.

Fortunately for Online Resources, SOX provides potential acquirees such as IDS a good incentive to sell out for a nice price. Debt-free Online Resources is itself priced at a whopping 5.7 times sales. Based on the few details that have been released on the transaction, IDS sells for much less. With trailing 12-month revenues of $3.2 million and a sales price of $5 million (along with the assumption of a minimal $300,000 in debt), the company's equity is selling for just 1.6 times sales.

One other plus for the acquirer in this deal: IDS brings with it 50 credit union clients. Now, there may be some overlap with Online Resources' current customer base. The press release isn't clear on this point. What it does suggest, however, is that whatever overlap there is, is not complete. As Online Resources put it: "The acquisition provides Online Resources with added distribution . "

Put it all together and what we have here is a motivated seller, a sales price offered at a substantial discount to Online Resources' own P/S ratio, and at least one, if not several dozen, new clients for the acquirer. Sounds like a good deal to me.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Corillian, but of no other companies mentioned in this article.