UK Competition and Markets Authority Questions PayPal Acquisition of iZettle

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a statement on the PayPal acquisition of iZettle – an event that was announced in early 2018 and closed in September. PayPal purchased Sweden based iZettle for $2.2 billion as the company seeks to gain access to iZettle’s point of purchase credit platform.

The CMA stated:

“… the CMA has found that PayPal could face insufficient competition in the UK after acquiring its market-leading rival. The finding raises concerns that the merger could result in customers, which include small and medium-sized businesses, paying higher prices or receiving a lower quality service.”

The CMA added that iZettle could have provided strong competition for PayPal if the company had not moved to take over the Fintech.

“While iZettle is a relatively recent entrant to payment services, it has already established a market-leading position in mobile point of sale devices and was well-placed to compete against PayPal in other emerging markets. That’s why we are concerned that PayPal’s takeover could lead to higher prices or reduce the quality of the services available to customers,”stated Andrea Gomes da Silva, CMA Executive Director.

Gomes da Silva said it was particularly important to look to the future when the CMA assesses the impact of mergers and acquisitions.

The initial comments are based off a “Phase 1” inquiry. If PayPal cannot sufficiently answer the CMA’s questions the investigation will move to “Phase 2”.

On 19 September 2018, the CMA served an initial enforcement order under section 72(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002 on PayPal Holdings, Inc., PayPal SE and PayPal (Europe) Sarl et Cie SCA in relation to the completed acquisition by PayPal Holdings, Inc. of iZettle AB.