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Permira joins payments rush by buying into Sweden's Klarna

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07/21/2017 | 11:05am CEST

Private equity group Permira has bought a stake of at least 10 percent in payments firm Klarna, one of Europe's most highly valued tech startups, the companies said on Friday.

Payments companies have become attractive targets for buyout groups and credit card firms seeking to take advantage of a switch from cash transactions to smartphone or mobile payments.

Permira will acquire the Klarna stake from existing shareholders General Atlantic and DST Global, and the Sweden-based firm's co-founder Niklas Adalberth.

General Atlantic and DST Global will cease to be shareholders in Klarna after the deal, they added in a statement.

Klarna, which says it handles 650,000 transactions per day, got a banking licence from Sweden's financial watchdog last month, two weeks after Anders Holch Povlsen, owner of Danish fashion retailer Bestseller, bought a stake.

Permira's investment in Klarna follows a move by a consortium of Blackstone (>> Blackstone Group LP) and CVC Capital Partners <CVC.UL> to buy payments processing company Paysafe Group (>> Paysafe Group Plc).

Many more deals have been announced over the past month, including French payments specialist Ingenico (>> Ingenico Group) buying Stockholm-based rival Bambora from Nordic Capital for 1.5 billion euros (1.31 billion pounds).

U.S. credit card processor Vantiv (>> Vantiv Inc) made a 7.7 billion pounds bid for Britain's Worldpay (>> Worldpay Group) and Danish payment services firm Nets A/S (>> Nets) said it had been approached by potential buyers.

(Reporting by Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru and Clara Denina in London; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Alexander Smith)

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