Visa’s Latest Fintech Buy Wears Plaid And Costs $5.3B

Visa has agreed to pay $5.3 billion to acquire financial technology startup Plaid, the companies announced Monday.

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The acquisition, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes after Plaid raised more than $310 million in total funding and touted a valuation of $2.65 billion, according to Crunchbase. Visa was previously an investor in Plaid.

Plaid helps power other well-known fintech startups like Venmo, Acorns and Expensify. The company, which was founded in 2013 and is based in San Francisco, attracted venture dollars from investors like Kleiner Perkins and Index Ventures. It last raised money in December 2018, when it closed a $250 million Series C round.

“Visa’s acquisition of Plaid represents both an entry into new businesses and complementary enhancements to Visa’s existing business,” the company said in a statement.

“First, Plaid’s fintech-centric business opens new market opportunities for Visa both in the U.S. and internationally. Second, the combination of Visa and Plaid provides the opportunity to deliver enhanced payment capabilities and related value-added services to fintech developers. Finally, the acquisition will enable Visa to work more closely with fintechs through all stages of their development and drive growth in Visa’s core business.”

Plaid marks Visa’s first acquisition this year following a busy year in 2019. The payment network made four acquisitions last year. That’s the most acquisitions in a single year for Visa, according to Crunchbase (you can read more about Visa’s acquisition history here). It most recently bought Payworks in July, and also acquired Verifi Inc., Bell ID and Rambus.

Visa’s acquisition strategy is continuing to go after the hot fintech space. While we don’t know the prices of Visa’s last four acquisitions, Plaid’s price tag of $5.3B and unicorn status gives us some insight into how big of a deal this really might be.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported Plaid’s total funding as $353 million. The corrected version above reflects the accurate amount of $310 million.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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