Visa to buy Swedish fintech Tink for $2.1 billion after abandoning Plaid takeover

Visa Inc. credit and debit cards are arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, April 22, 2019.

Visa agreed Thursday to acquire Swedish financial technology start-up Tink for 1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion), in a deal aimed at bolstering the payment giant’s digital ambitions.

The deal comes after Visa’s bid to buy Plaid, an American rival to Tink, was torpedoed by US regulators. Plaid has since gone on alone as an independent company, and was last privately valued by investors at $13.4 billion.

Both Plaid and Tink operate in a nascent space known as opening banking, which calls on lenders to provide third-party firms with access to coveted consumer banking data, provided they’ve got consent.

“Visa is committed to doing all we can to foster innovation and empower consumers in support of Europe’s open banking goals,” Al Kelly, Visa’s CEO, said in a statement.

“By bringing together Visa’s network of networks and Tink’s open banking capabilities we will deliver increased value to European consumers and businesses with tools to make their financial lives more simple, reliable and secure.”

Founded by Swedish entrepreneurs Daniel Kjellén and Fredrik Hedberg, Tink initially started out as a financial management app but later pivoted to focus on providing its technology to other businesses instead.

Tink’s technology lets banks and fintech firms access banking data to create new financial products. The Stockholm-based company was last privately valued at 680 million euros. It has raised more than $300 million from investors including PayPal, SEB and ABN AMRO.

Visa’s acquisition of Tink is the latest in a wave of consolidation efforts in the massive payments industry. The company had tried to buy Plaid last year, but ultimately abandoned the takeover after the U.S. Department of Justice sued to block it on antitrust grounds.

The deal with Tink is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, Visa said, adding it will be financed from cash and won’t impact the company’s stock buyback program or dividend policy.

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