Klarna, Europe’s most valuable fintech company, said on Wednesday that China’s Ant Financial Services Group had taken a small stake in it as the two strengthen their online shopping partnership. Ant Monetary is a cost affiliate of Chinese language e-commerce Alibaba.
The investment by Ant, which will not have any operational influence on Klarna, was via a mix of new and existing shares, according to people familiar with the deal. The transaction valued the group at slightly more than $5.5bn, they added. Ant Financial made its biggest push into western markets last year with the $700m acquisition of UK payments group World First.
“The current partnership where Klarna payments are available in AliExpress should now expand to new markets globally,” CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski told Reuters, adding that Klarna and Ant Financial would also develop new products.
Klarna, founded in 2005, is backed by rapper Snoop Dogg, U.S. venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and Australia’s biggest lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Commenting in a statement, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiątkowski also said: “For too long consumers have had to endure non-intuitive, boring and overly complex services when shopping both online and offline. At the heart of this cooperation between Klarna and Alipay is a shared ambition of innovating truly superior shopping experiences and creating destinations of inspiration for consumers across the world.”
Klarna, which describes itself as the European market leader, slid to a loss in 2019 as it invested to grow in the United States. It has launched this year in Australia and is looking to expand further in Europe.
The partnership with Ant Financial will follow that footprint but Klarna has no ambitions to enter China, said Siemiatkowski.