German fintech heidelpay acquires installment lender Universum Group

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Payment service provider heidelpay Group has purchased the installment lender Universum Group to bring a new payment capability to the heidelpay Group in the form of an installment lending product called FlexiPay.

Heidelberg, Germany-based heidelpay reports that the addition of FlexiPay will allow it to continue to build out its omnichannel payments strategy for the DACH region (the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Heidelpay states that its revenues have increased more than five-fold to €90 million (about US$ 102 million) and its transaction volume is expected to reach approximately €8 billion (about US$ 9.1 billion).

"Universum and heidelpay have an established track record of working together in a close and successful manner – so the takeover was a logical next step for both parties," said Mirko Hüllemann, founder and CEO of heidelpay, in the press release. "We will now look to drive growth and offer solutions along the entire payment supply chain from a single source. FlexiPay, the white label solution for PayLater and installment, is already integrated smoothly into all product offerings by heidelpay."

The companies did not provide financial details of the acquisition.

The heidelpay Group, founded in 2003, was itself acquired by the private equity firm AnaCap Financial Partners in 2017. Since that acquisition, heidelpay has conducted a series of acquisitions to expand its reach and capabilities, including Vienna, Austria-based online payment services provider, mPay24, and Hamburg, Germany-based payments firm StartTec. Universum is based in Frankfurt, Germany.

Installment lending offered on e-commerce websites has quickly become a favorite payment mechanism among millennial consumers as the generation tends to eschew credit cards yet still wants some form of loan for making online purchases. The number of global companies entering the installment lending business targeting digital commerce has exploded with U.S. firms such as Affirm and PayPal finding themselves increasingly competing with overseas rivals such as Sweden's Klarna, which recently courted the famed rap star Snoop Dogg as one of its investors; and Australian lender Afterpay, which recently entered the U.S. market.

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