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

BENGALURU (REUTERS) – Affirm Holdings has agreed to buy Canadian buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firm PayBright for C$340 million (S$352.5 million), as the lending start-up looks to expand outside the US.

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 (IPO) 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 instalments, 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 for 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.

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.

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