Late last year, PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ: PYPL) announced it would sell its consumer credit portfolio to Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF). At the time of the announcement, PayPal management acknowledged that offering credit was a crucial piece of its holistic payments platform, which explains why the company greatly preferred to sell its portfolio and hand over its administration to a partner rather than end the program altogether. Before the sale, credit liabilities tied up about half of PayPal's cash flow, hindering it from investing the money into opportunities offering higher returns.
When the deal with Synchrony was finalized, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman stated:
We're pleased that we've completed the sale of our U.S. consumer credit receivables portfolio. Our agreement with Synchrony accomplishes every goal we set out for our asset light strategy. We look forward to working with Synchrony to double down on our innovative consumer credit experiences for our customers and profitably grow the portfolio over time.
With its new asset-light footprint, however, the company didn't just double down on investing in innovative properties -- it quadrupled down. In the past two months, PayPal has made an incredible four acquisitions. With these new additions to PayPal's family, it has been hard for investors to keep up, even for those paying attention. Let's take a closer look at each of these deals and PayPal's overall strategy.
PayPal has made four acquisitions in two months, increasing its global presence and bolstering its offerings to merchants in the process. Image source: PayPal Holdings Inc.
The acquisition scorecard
In chronological order, here's a brief review of what we know about PayPal's recent acquisitions:
iZettle: Informally known as the "Square of Europe," iZettle offers payment processing services to small and midsized companies in 11 different markets, primarily in Europe. The acquisition was an all-cash deal for $2.2 billion. iZettle is expected to facilitate about $6 billion in total payment volume and generate $165 million in revenue this calendar year.
The iZettle deal scored two major points for PayPal investors. First, it bolstered the company's payment processing services, allowing it to approach merchants with a much more robust suite of services. Second, it opened up several new markets for PayPal where it previously had little to no presence.
Jetlore: In early June, PayPal announced its second major acquisition, Jetlore. Founded by doctoral computer science students from Stanford University, Jetlore brings machine learning to the retail world and helps businesses by analyzing thousands of data points to help create personalized shopping experiences for customers. Jetlore already boasts an impressive list of clients, including eBay, Nordstrom Rack, and Uniqlo, a popular Japanese apparel retailer. The deal was for an undisclosed figure.
Hyperwallet: Shortly after making its Jetlore acquisition, PayPal announced it would be bringing Hyperwallet under its corporate umbrella for $400 million. Hyperwallet is a mass payment disbursement company that allows employers to pay contractors and freelancers quickly and enables online marketplace transactions to take place seamlessly. The platform works across currencies in more than 200 different countries and gives participating parties several different disbursement options including prepaid card, bank account, debit card, cash pickup, check, and PayPal. Hyperwallet already boasts impressive clients such as Expedia..
Simility: Finally, in late June, PayPal announced it would be acquiring Simility, a risk management platform that integrates with merchants' pre-existing account dashboards. Similty's fraud prevention program is customizable for different business models, and dynamically adapts and learns from each transaction. When the deal was announced, PayPal's COO Bill Ready said: "PayPal has been at the forefront of developing innovative fraud prevention and risk management solutions for nearly 20 years, and now, merchants will be able to configure those solutions to manage the unique complexities of their businesses. Together with Simility, we will be able to put more control in the hands of our merchants to fight fraud while helping make commerce experiences faster and more secure."
The big picture
For as long as I've followed PayPal, it has been almost singularly focused on growing its active account user base, 237 million strong as of the first quarter. And rightly so. The greater the number of active users it sports, the more likely it is that merchants will offer PayPal as a payment option. The more retailers that offer the payment method at checkout, the more attractive the platform becomes to new users. And on and on the cycle goes, growing PayPal's impressive network effect with it.
PayPal now seems to be after another big market. With each of these acquisitions, the company's offerings to merchants as a payment processing platform have become immensely more attractive. Taken together, they represent a focused effort on PayPal's part to offer a holistic and robust omnichannel platform for sellers and gain an increased global presence.
More acquisitions might be coming too. In a recent statement, Schulman said the company could spend as much as $3 billion per year on acquisitions going forward. While it's impossible to know what future acquisitions the company has planned, investors should be pleased with how PayPal has allocated its freed-up capital since selling its consumer credit portfolio to Synchrony last year. More importantly, though, investors should be enthused with PayPal's big-picture strategy.
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