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April 4, 2022updated 07 Jun 2022 10:45am

The competition will pay for this later: Klarna completes PriceRunner deal

Klarna muscles in on Google and Amazon's territory with completion of PriceRunner acquisition.

By Eric Johansson

Europe’s biggest fintech startup just got bigger: Klarna has completed its acquisition of shopping comparison platform PriceRunner. Previous reports have hinted that it could be worth north of $1bn. Klarna has now confirmed those reports.

Klarna announced the PriceRunner deal in November last year. The acquisition has been pending regulatory approval. It is the latest in a long string of acquisitions that has established the Swedish $45.6bn company as an international retail bank as well as a payments and online shopping powerhouse.

Klarna is aggressively expanding its services across Europe, the UK and in the US. Its UK boss and its chief marketing officer have told Verdict in the past that it aims to muscle in on both traditional credit card companies and new challenger banks’ territory by providing a catch-all shopping experience. The quadradecacorn buying PriceRunner will also put it at a collision course with Amazon and Google.

“The acquisition will serve to strengthen our consumer offering and that Klarna will not be a marketplace but a viable and competitive alternative for retail partners vs Amazon, Google and Facebook,” said David Fock, Klarna’s chief product officer. “Klarna and PriceRunner are united in our fundamental belief that tech companies, no matter where they operate, compete on the basis of their own merit with the best products and services to gain consumers’ trust.”

The deal will also strengthen Klarna’s position in the increasingly competitive buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) industry.

The global BNPL industry is expected to be worth $166bn by 2023, according to GlobalData’s thematic research.

The sector faces several challenges. Concerns about it putting people’s financial health at risk have seen lawmakers and regulators rush to introduce new rules. This push is seen on both sides of the Atlantic.

The industry has also been caught in the Big Tech market plunge that kicked off at the end of 2021. Shares of the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Tesla all fell at the start of the year. Although, they have all recovered since. Publicly traded BNPL companies like Affirm and Zip have not been so lucky.

Players in the beleaguered BNPL industry have reason to strengthen their position. Klarna acquiring PriceRunner arguable does that. The acquisition will bring new feature to Klarna’s app.

Merchants that have partnered with Klarna should also expect a slight bump in traffic from the audience PriceRunner has built since the launch in 1999. Today, the startup operates in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the UK.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.

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