PayPal has reached a deal to buy fintech startup iZettle, Europe’s answer to the mobile payments company Square, for about $2.2 billion, a move that would catapult the U.S. digital-payments giant into hundreds of thousands of brick-and-mortar retailers around the world.
The deal would be the company’s biggest takeover — and sets the stage for a showdown with Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc. which has been providing payment options for small business with physical locations. The agreement was confirmed Thursday by Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for PayPal.
“Small businesses are the engine of the global economy and we are continuing to expand our platform to help them compete and win online, in-store and via mobile,” said PayPal’s chief executive, Dan Schulman.
The talks were earlier reported by Sky News. IZettle did not respond to a request for comment.
The takeover comes less than three weeks after iZettle said it would list shares in Stockholm. When complete, the acquisition of iZettle will mean PayPal has an in-store presence in 11 markets in Europe and Latin America.
The agreement is the latest example of a promising European start-up selling itself to a larger American company. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have all used acquisitions in the region to gobble up promising technology and sought-after engineers. Past deals include Google’s purchase of the London-based artificial intelligence start-up DeepMind; Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang, the Swedish maker of popular video game “Minecraft”; and Apple’s deal for the music-recognition company Shazam and digital-assistant maker VocalIQ, both of which started in Europe.