In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) news, Poland investigates Apple; a U.K. buy now, pay later (BNPL) startup for car repairs snags $12 million from Porsche and Jaguar; the omicron variant triggers restrictions in Norway; Pecunpay is the first Spanish issuer of UnionPay cards; the U.K. is wary of foreign takeovers by U.S. companies; and more.
Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has launched an investigation into the change in privacy and personal data rules on Apple devices. The anticompetition watchdog said the change under review relates to the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy that requires app developers to seek iPhone users’ permission to track their activity for ad targeting.
Bumper, a British BNPL startup that helps people pay for car repairs, has raised $12 million with the help of a pair of automakers. Bumper’s Series A was led by Autotech Ventures, with the backing of Porsche Ventures and Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures fund. The company will use the capital to expand into Spain, the Netherlands and Germany, with plans to add more European markets before the end of next year.
Norway is looking at heightened COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine efforts to combat the new omicron variant, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said. “There is no doubt — the new variant changes the rules,” the prime minister told a news conference. “That’s why we need to act fast, and we need to act again. For many, this will feel like a lockdown, if not of society, then of their lives and of their livelihoods.”
Spanish FinTech Pecunpay and global payments company UnionPay have signed a strategic partnership to make Pecunpay the first Spanish issuer of UnionPay cards. The agreement between the companies covers commercial products, consumer and corporate cards, and mobile payment systems.
Earnr, a tax and finance app aimed at people who are self-employed, has secured $859,670 in funding. The London-based startup, which targets workers running tax-eligible “side hustles” in the U.K., said its app will automate the tax administration challenges that come with running a side business.
As the U.K. moves toward its recovery from the pandemic, a report by Her Majesty’s Treasury and the U.K.’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has outlined measures that will help boost financial inclusion and capability for more people in the country. The measures will help people move beyond “the basic necessity of being able to open your first bank account, to accessing credit, insurance and the right mortgage products at an affordable price, and when planning for retirement.”
Ola Oyetayo, co-founder and CEO of B2B payments platform and currency exchange marketplace VertoFX, tells PYMNTS that the company’s new multicurrency offering will streamline international payments for small- to medium-sized business (SMB) clients via a partnership with Banking Circle that simplifies reconciliation and increases client confidence in the process.
Nexi Group is extending its partnership with Italian digital transformation firm Reply to launch Nexi Digital, a European hub for technological innovation. The move aligns with Nexi Group’s aim to rely on internal strategic capabilities rather than continue outsourcing. Nexi Digital is being positioned to be a center of excellence for Nexi Group at a European level.
British officials are taking a closer look at potential foreign takeovers, making it tougher for American companies to follow a longstanding route to international expansion through deep-pocketed acquisitions. In the spotlight are Nvidia Corp.’s $40 billion takeover of chip designer Arm Holdings and Parker-Hannifin Corp.’s acquisition of defense contractor Meggitt PLC.