Klarna becomes Europe’s highest-valued private fintech

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The Swedish firm said in a statement Tuesday that it has raised $650 million from investors, which also include Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund (GIC) and funds managed by BlackRock. The company said it’s now the most valuable private financial technology business in Europe.

Klarna said it will use the funds to invest further into the business and grow its global presence, especially in the United States, where more than 9 million consumers have used its services.

How 'buy now, pay later' companies are getting younger shoppers to use credit
Klarna allows online shoppers to pay for purchases in interest-free installments or through financing. Merchants that use the platform, such as Sephora, H&M (HNNMY), Asos (ASOMY) and Adidas (ADDDF), are paid for goods upfront by Klarna, which charges a transaction fee and a percentage of the sale.

In the United States, Klarna competes with rivals including Affirm and Afterpay, which is branded Clearpay in Europe. “Buy now, pay later” services appeal in particular to younger consumers, who frequently shop online and may not have credit cards.

The Klarna app has more than 12 million monthly active users worldwide, with 55,000 daily downloads, according to the company. It has benefited from a surge in e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic, adding about 200 new retailers daily in the first half of 2020 and selling goods worth $22 billion, a 44% increase on the same period last year.

“Klarna is one of the most disruptive and promising fintech companies in the world, redefining the e-commerce experience for millions of consumers and global retailers, just as e-commerce growth is accelerating worldwide and rapidly shifting to mobile,” Silver Lake’s co-CEO Egon Durban said in a statement.

Silver Lake is also invested in Airbnb and Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group (BABA), and earlier this month made its second billion dollar investment into India’s Reliance Industries, after backing subsidiary Jio Platforms earlier this year.
Current investors in Klarna include Sequoia Capital, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBAUF) and Ant Group, the financial affiliate of Alibaba.

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