Ant Financial takes stake in Klarna

Joe McGrath |

China’s Ant Financial Services Group has taken a minority stake in Swedish fintech Klarna as the two companies bolster their online shopping partnership.

Klarna, a global payments and shopping provider and Europe’s most valuable fintech company, said the investment by Ant Financial will help support the further development of the firms’ strategic partnership, bringing more of Klarna’s solutions to consumers and merchants.

The investment amounts to a stake less than one per cent, a source close to the deal told Reuters, and follows a $460 million investment round last August that valued Klarna at $5.5 billion.

Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group, owns payments and lifestyle platform Alipay.

The stake is designed to deepen ongoing collaborations between Klarna and Alipay, which currently enables shoppers at AliExpress – the global retail online marketplace of Alibaba Group – to use Klarna’s popular buy now, pay later, solution across multiple markets.

Klarna already powers over 200,000 retailers and e-commerce platforms globally including AliExpress, H&M, ASOS, IKEA, Adidas, Spotify, Samsung and Nike – and has accumulated an 85 million-strong consumer base.

Its platform allows consumers to buy online without having to provide payment details to the merchant, with Klarna making the payment for the order instead.

“For too long consumers have had to endure non-intuitive, boring and overly complex services when shopping both online and offline,” Sebastian Siemiątkowski, chief executive officer of Klarna, said.

“At the heart of this cooperation between Klarna and Alipay is a shared ambition of innovating truly superior shopping experiences and creating destinations of inspiration for consumers across the world,” Siemiątkowski added.

The investment follows Klarna’s recent acquisition of Italian group Moneymour, reported by OBE News last month.

At the time, Klarna said the Moneymour deal would ensure access to intellectual property that will enhance its underwriting capabilities and see the business launch a product development hub in Milan.

Established in 2017, Moneymour allows consumers to split the payment of purchases into monthly instalments based on an instant credit assessment.

Klarna said it plans to build on its solid growth and enter new markets in 2020, with an already strong start to the year with the recent launch of the Klarna app in Australia.