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Monday 27 January 2020

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Visa buys FinTech Plaid in $5.3 bn deal

Written by Hannah McGrath
14/01/2020

Visa has signed a $5.3 billion deal to buy data sharing FinTech Plaid.

The San Francisco-based firm provides a data network connecting consumer bank accounts with digital financial apps and services in the US such as Acorns, Betterment, Expensify, and Venmo.

Founded in 2013, Plaid provides connectivity to one in four people with a US bank account and enables them to share their financial data with more than 2,600 FinTech developers across 11,000 financial institutions.

Visa participated in a $250 million financing round in Plaid in September last year alongside rival card and payment giant Mastercard, which gave the company a $2.65 billion valuation, suggesting that Visa has been locked in a bidding war to takeover the company, resulting in a price of $5.3 billion.

Financial institutions including Citi, American Express and Goldman Sachs have also invested in Plaid.

Al Kelly, chief executive and chairman of Visa said: “We are extremely excited about our acquisition of Plaid and how it enhances the growth trajectory of our business.”

He added: “Plaid is a leader in the fast growing fintech world with best-in-class capabilities and talent. The acquisition, combined with our many fintech efforts already underway, will position Visa to deliver even more value for developers, financial institutions and consumers.”

Visa’s acquisition of Plaid represents both an entry into new businesses and complementary enhancements to Visa’s existing business with the FinTech-centric business opening new opportunities for Visa in the US and internationally.

Plaid is set to expand in Europe as consumers take up the data sharing opportunities of Open Banking, and to date has integrations with eight UK banks.

In addition, Visa said the tie up also provides the opportunity to deliver enhanced payment capabilities and related value-added services to fintech developers.

“This acquisition is the natural evolution of Visa's 60-year journey from safely and securely connecting buyers and sellers to connecting consumers with digital financial services,” said Kelly.

Gordon Smith, co-president of JPMorgan Chase, an early adopter of Plaid’s technology, said: “We believe Visa’s acquisition of Plaid is an important development in giving consumers more security and control over how their financial data is used.”



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