Affirm looks to Canada with acquisition of buy-now-pay-later firm PayBright

The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying passengers who have tested positive for coronavirus travels past the skyline of San Francisco, California, U.S. March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Fred Greaves

(Reuters) – Affirm Holdings Inc has agreed to buy Canadian buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firm PayBright for C$340 million ($264 million), as the lending startup looks to expand outside the United States.

The deal marks the first major sign of consolidation in the BNPL industry, which is riding on an online shopping boom accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and is now seeing intensifying competition.

The move comes about two weeks after Affirm, founded by PayPal Holdings’ co-founder Max Levichin, disclosed an initial public offering that showed revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 nearly doubled, while its net loss narrowed.

Unlike Affirm, PayBright is a more traditional BNPL company, which lets customers pay for anything from shoes to furniture in interest-free installments, typically over four bi-weekly payments.

Through the deal, Affirm could expand its merchant network with PayBright’s more than 7,000 retailers, which include Steve Madden and Samsung. Affirm’s IPO filing showed that close to a third of its revenue in the September quarter came from just one merchant.

The cash and stock deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, Affirm said, adding that additional terms of the deal would not be disclosed.

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Affirm, whose major investors include Peter Thiel’s venture firm Founders Fund and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, will be competing with Australia’s Afterpay, the largest-listed BNPL firm, and Minneapolis-based Sezzle.

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan, Sohini Podder and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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