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PayPal is buying a Swedish startup that offers Square-like payments services in Europe for a whopping $2.2 billion. It’s a lot of money because the company, iZettle, processes a tiny fraction of Square’s (SQ) volume, which is a tiny fraction of PayPal’s.
* Who would have thought a decade ago that payments would be such a hot field? PayPal was an obvious acquisition for eBay (EBAY) once upon a time because all the then-auction site’s customers were using it. Today, the independent PayPal (PYPL) is worth 2.5 times its one-time owner, and its business is way bigger than merely processing transactions on eBay. The big banks, Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL), Samsung, and a bevy of “fintech” startups all want a piece of this pie, which continues to grow.
* The same phenomenon is playing out in China, where Alibaba (BABA) affiliate Ant Financial’s Alipay started the mobile payments phenomenon and has more recently been joined by Tencent’s WeChat Pay. The two are investing hither and yon to bolster their payment platforms. Again, it’s a segment that once would have been an undercard fight and now is the main event.
* European tech is hot in its own right. Spotify (SPOT) led the way, but success stories like iZettle remind investors and consumers that impressive tech stories don’t have to come out of Silicon Valley. It’s such an important trend that we’re hosting a roundtable on European startups in Aspen, Colo., at Brainstorm Tech this summer. We’re still looking for a few good entrepreneurs to participate.
Speaking of Brainstorm Tech, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Vista Equity Partners, the software-focused buyout shop, is raising a $12-billion fund. Robert Smith, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Vista, is making his first appearance at Brainstorm. Vista is a fascinating story that has kept a relatively low profile until recently. We’ll shine a light on Smith and Vista in Aspen in July.
Have a good weekend.