Visa Buys Swedish Fintech Tink For $2.1 Billion After Plaid Takeover Blocked
Visa has agreed to acquire Swedish startup Tink, which allows banks and startups to access consumer financial data and handles payments outside of traditional card networks like Visa’s, in a $2.1 billion deal (€1.8 billion).
The deal marks Visa’s second attempt to expand beyond its core business of handling card payments after its takeover of San Francisco-based open banking startup Plaid stalled. The Stockholm-based business was founded in 2012 and was originally focused on building a personal finance management app but now uses its technology to help around 300 banks and fintechs in Europe build products from aggregating customers’ financial data.
“In Tink, we have found a strong partner with whom we can accelerate innovation in open banking for the benefit of our collective clients and the citizens of the U.K. and the E.U., while investing in high-skill tech jobs on the continent,” said Charlotte Hogg, CEO of Visa Europe in a statement.
The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and comes just six months after Visa dropped its $5.3 billion takeover of Plaid after the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit. The DOJ antitrust regulators alleged that the deal would reduce competition and “deprive American merchants and consumers of this innovative alternative to Visa and increase entry barriers for future innovators.”
The Tink deal could raise similar concerns for antitrust watchdogs in Europe, warns Simon Taylor, Head of Ventures & Co-founder at the financial technology consultancy, 11:FS. “Is Visa trying to prevent competition through this acquisition with its core payments business? Account to account payments could potentially be lower cost than card payments for consumers and businesses, which in turn means less revenue to Visa.”
Visa noted that Tink was just one of 440 open banking businesses in Europe, and the regulatory landscape on the continent was very different from the United States. Tink and many other fintechs in Europe have emerged in recent years from European Union rules that forced banks to share financial data from consenting customers with third party companies in a bid to boost competition.
I joined Forbes as the European News Editor and will be working with the London newsroom to define our coverage of emerging businesses and leaders across the UK and
I joined Forbes as the European News Editor and will be working with the London newsroom to define our coverage of emerging businesses and leaders across the UK and Europe. Prior to joining Forbes, I worked for the news agency Storyful as its Asia Editor working from its Hong Kong bureau, and as a Senior Editor in London, where I reported on breaking news stories from around the world, with a special focus on how misinformation and disinformation spreads on social media platforms. I started my career in London as a financial journalist with Citywire and my work has appeared in the BBC, Sunday Times, and many more UK publications. Email me story ideas, or tips, to [email protected], or Twitter @_iainmartin.