eBay has taken a big step toward better positioning itself for the growing market of financial transactions on smartphones and tablets. On Thursday, the company announced that it is buying global payment platform Braintree for $800 million in cash.
The acquisition, expected to close in the fourth-quarter, is intended to boost the reach, technology and logistical capacity of eBay's PayPal unit, as well as provide the company with transaction fees and customer data. Braintree currently handles financial processing for such companies as online restaurant booking service OpenTable and travel service Airbnb, with a total revenue stream expected to reach $12 billion this year. About one third of that total is from mobile payments.
eBay President and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement that "Braintree is a perfect fit with PayPal," providing "complementary talent and technology that we believe will help accelerate PayPal's global leadership in mobile payments." He added that the acquisition will help to "accelerate our capabilities for developers, entrepreneurs, merchants and companies."
"Impressive Mobile Payment Solutions"
On the PayPal blog, President David Marcus wrote Thursday that Braintree "has built impressive mobile payment solutions that handle transactions in 130 currencies in more than 40 countries," and noted that "mobile developers love Braintree's tools and the great hands-on service." He said that he admires the company "because they were one of the very first companies to understand the power of real mobile-first experiences," not just traditional e-commerce used on a mobile device.
At this point, eBay is far beyond its original identity as an auction site, and is maneuvering to become a major player in global transactions. PayPal's 2013 mobile payment revenue is expected to be over $20 billion, and now accounts for about 40 percent of eBay's total revenue.
The Chicago-based Braintree also owns a mobile application called Venmo that allows users to pay each other directly, mobile device to mobile device. Braintree bought Venmo in 2012 for $26.2 million.
"A Real Boon to eBay"
By buying Braintree, eBay extends its financial reach and removes a potential competitor to PayPal. Braintree's services include merchant accounts, payment gateways, a database of credit cards and billing, so that companies can accept payments.
Although it will become part of eBay, Braintree will continue to function as a separate service. The management team and current employees, totaling about 180, are expected to remain. PayPal has been battling smaller but growing competitors in the mobile space, such as Square. Braintree's competitors include credit card companies as well as, until now, PayPal.
Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, noted that PayPal "has been a real boon to eBay," helping the company to redefine itself beyond its origins, and, by extending PayPal's reach, this acquisition helps eBay's evolution as an e-commerce powerhouse. He added that the acquisition could help PayPal particularly in extending its footprint internationally.
Posted: 2013-09-27 @ 2:53pm PT
Whatever; the ugly reality of eBay Inc.:
The clunky "PreyPal" ... bit.ly/UVXx53
eBay's crooked auctions marketplace ... bit.ly/11F2eas
The ongoing joke of it all ... bit.ly/YvxFEg
Quotes from the eBay executive suite ... bit.ly/12xvzyA