KEY POINTS
  • Visa has agreed to acquire Swedish financial technology start-up Tink for 1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion).
  • The deal comes after Visa's bid to buy Plaid, an American rival to Tink, was torpedoed by U.S. regulators.
  • Plaid and Tink both operate in a nascent space known as open banking.

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

LONDON — 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 U.S. regulators. Plaid has since opted to go it alone as an independent company, and was last privately valued by investors at $13.4 billion.

Plaid and Tink both operate in a nascent space known as open banking, which calls on lenders to provide third-party firms with access to coveted consumer banking data, provided they've got consent. Open banking has flourished in Britain and the EU thanks to new regulation.

"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.

Tink co-founders Daniel Kjellén and Fredrik Hedberg.

"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 in 2012, 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 connect with over 3,400 lenders 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.

"As we got to know Visa, it became clear that we share a common mission – to connect the financial world and accelerate the growth and adoption of digital financial services," Tink's founders said in a blog post Thursday.

"Teaming up with Visa means we'll now be able to move faster and reach further than ever before, and we know that Visa is the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey."

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 solely with cash and won't impact the company's stock buyback program or dividend policy.

Tink will keep its branding and management team after the deal, Visa said, while the company's headquarters will also remain in Stockholm.

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