Klarna Snaps Up BillPay

Getting the week off with a bit of a  bang, it looks like some European payments power players are joining up to take on the market.

According to reports,  Swedish payment start-up Klarna has confirmed that it has acquired German payments firm BillPay. BillPay was owned by Wonga, a short term loan company that recently was caught making predatory loans.

The exact price tag on the deal has not been confirmed by any of the three principle firms in involved, though early reports indicate the price clocked at £60 million ($75 million). Klarna was last valued at $2.25 billion  in 2015.

So which firm gets what?

Klarna is looking to strengthen its global brand in Europe — specifically in Germany —and BillPay gives them a better access point. Wonga is retreating from prior plans to move from loans to payments, a pivot that it tried to make possible by buying up BillPay itself a few years ago.

“We are excited to be working with BillPay and their talented team in Berlin. By combining our skills and expertise, and leveraging BillPay’s deep market knowledge, product features and consumer offerings, we are confident that we can offer even more innovative payment services to our customers,” said Sebastian Siemiatkowski, co-founder and CEO of Klarna, in a statement. “‘Germany is one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world, and we are delighted to have strengthened our position here with this acquisition.”

BillPay first hit the scene in 2009 as one of several e-commerce clones from Berlin-based incubating factory Rocket Internet. Occasionally called the PayPal of Germany, BillPay has mostly focused its efforts on dominating its home nation — which also happens to be Europe’s biggest eCommerce market. It is also operational in Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. How big the business is exactly is unknown, though it has certainly grown notably in the last several years. Today it has 12 million customers in its four markets.

“We are thrilled to join the Klarna team. Together we will have a market leading position in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and will be able to offer our merchants and users highly attractive payment options in more international markets in an ever-increasing cross-border e-commerce environment,” said BillPay CEO Nelson Holzner in a statement.

The deal will make Germany the largest market served by Klarna, which currently has 45 million customers in Europe and will pick up another 27 million with the BillPay deal.


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