Klarna Bank AB has made a number of moves recently as its expands beyond its original online retail services business, and that evolution includes a change in its ownership.
The company has entered an agreement with the global investment firm Permira, which will acquire a strategic equity stake in Klarna. Permira focuses on identifying companies for long-term investment and currently has a total committed capital of about €32 billion.
The investment partnership will acquire shares from existing shareholders General Atlantic, DST Global and Niklas Adalberth upon receipt of approval from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen). As a consequence of this transfer, General Atlantic and DST Global will cease to be shareholders in the company, while Niklas Adalberth will retain an equity stake. The investment partnership will become a qualified owner of Klarna.
Klarna, which launched in 2005 as a means of simplifying online retail and providing installment payments, has evolved significantly since its inception. It is currently serving 60 million consumers and 70,000 merchants, primarily throughout Europe. Since 2016, it has acquired 17,000 new merchant partnerships and increased transaction volumes by 50%. In early June, the company announced that it had been granted a full banking licence by Finansinspektionen in Sweden, a move that's expected to enable more complex credit products.
Klarna has also recently received strategic investment from Visa, which the card network sees as important in expanding its online and mobile commerce reach in Europe, as well as preventing disintermediation from alternative third-party payment networks.