Fintech/Analysis/

Klarna’s €930m acquisition is a step towards ‘Google for shopping’

The Pricerunner acquisition is the Swedish fintech’s fifth since July as it looks to offer a broader range of services to shoppers

By Mimi Billing

Klarna acquires price comparison site Pricerunner to add features in its buy now pay later app.

Klarna announced today that it acquired the Swedish comparison site Pricerunner for €930m in a move designed to broaden its shopping experience. The purchase gives a glimpse of the kind of one-stop-shopping company the Swedish fintech has an eye on becoming.

It’s not the first time Klarna has had a go at price comparison. It launched its own comparison feature earlier this year, but it was criticised for not being that good at finding the products that users are searching for.

Pricerunner has 18 million monthly users and Klarna can expect that the product does what it should. The company was founded in 1999 by Kristofer Arwin, Martin Alexandersson and Magnus Wiberg, members of the first generation of tech entrepreneurs in Sweden. They exited the company in 2004.

An alternative to Amazon, Google and Facebook

Some Klarna-watchers have pegged the fintech’s aim at becoming a “new Amazon” marketplace. But the Pricerunner acquisition suggests the company is looking at a different path: a Google for shopping. That means helping people discover new products instead of just helping them buy them.

David Fock, Klarna’s chief product officer, said of the acquisition: “It further cements that Klarna will not be a marketplace but a viable and competitive alternative for retail partners vs Amazon, Google and Facebook.”

The failure to become Amazon’s check-out option for “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) this year may have spurred Klarna’s wish to distinguish their business. Amazon instead chose to partner with Affirm for BNPL.

Klarna has been on its own shopping spree; this is the fifth acquisition that the fintech has made since the beginning of July, making it one of the most acquisitive private tech companies in Europe. And it has an impressive war chest for purchases — Klarna raised $639m in June.

Acquisitions include UK-based social shopping platform Hero for an estimated $160m, German discount shopping app Stocard for €113m and Swedish influencer marketing platform Apprl and travel planner Inspirock last month for undisclosed amounts.

Whether the growing number of acquisitions is a sign that the much-discussed flotation is getting closer is difficult to say. But it shows the fintech moving further away from being just a simple BNPL disruptor.

Mimi Billing is Sifted’s Nordic correspondent. She also covers healthtech, and tweets from @MimiBilling

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Paul Humphreys
Paul Humphreys

for €930m?