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August 3, 2021

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Twitter founder buys Aussie fintech firm

TWITTER co-founder Jack Dorsey’s Square unveiled a record US$29 billion deal to snap up Australia’s fast-growing buy-now, pay-later firm Afterpay, in a major bet on the burgeoning sector, sending its share price soaring yesterday.

The Australian fintech was founded six years ago and allows consumers to buy everything from laptops to flights in staggered payments without interest.

“Square and Afterpay have a shared purpose,” Dorsey — who made his billions through Twitter — said announcing the deal on Sunday. “We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible and inclusive.”

Afterpay makes money by taking a commission from retailers and charging fees to late-paying customers.

It has 16 million customers in Australia, Britain, Canada and the US.

Consumer advocacy groups have long voiced concern that buy now, pay later services could encourage people — especially the young — to spend beyond their means.

Industry watchdog the Australian Securities and Investments Commission says one in five such customers are missing payments.

The Square-Afterpay deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, and at A$39 billion would be the largest in Australian corporate history. Afterpay shareholders will own 18.5 percent of the new company.

Afterpay co-founders Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar said the deal was “an important recognition of the Australian technology sector as homegrown innovation continues to be shared more broadly throughout the world.”


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