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英国称PayPal斥资22亿美元收购iZettle威胁自由竞争

英国竞争监管机构警告称,美国支付公司PayPal斥资22亿美元收购瑞典金融科技初创公司iZettle案可能会威胁自由竞争,促使价格上涨。

英国竞争与市场管理局(后文简称CMA)的一项调查发现,在这个美国支付巨头收购“在市场上领先的竞争对手iZettle”后,它可能会“在英国市场上面临不充分的竞争”。

iZettle是一家移动支付公司,在2010年由Jacob de Geer和Magnus Nilsson在斯德哥尔摩创立。在今年9月,它完成了与PayPal的合并,以期改善其在线商户的商务体验。

此次收购案让iZettle公司放弃了上市计划。该公司CEO称,该公司已为上市筹备了“大约一年的时间”,本有可能成为欧洲最大规模的金融科技IPO。

但是合并后,iZettle公司将可以利用PayPal公司的1900万个商户资源。对于PayPal公司来说,此次收购活动可以让它打入欧洲和拉丁美洲的新市场。

CMA的常务董事Andrea Gomes da Silva表示:

“虽然iZettle公司推出支付服务的时间不长,但是它已取得了市场领导地位,而且已准备好在新兴市场上与PayPal公司竞争。这就是说,我们很担心PayPal公司的收购可能会导致它们提供给消费者的服务价格提高,服务质量降低。”

该管制机构称,在新技术的支持下,支付服务市场发展迅猛。因此,现在很有必要评估这个市场的竞争状况及其对消费者的影响。

CMA第一阶段的调查已经完成,它担心PayPal和iZettle公司的合并会降低消费者享受到的服务质量,以及对新兴的“全渠道”支付市场产生冲击。

CMA称,如果iZettle公司不被收购,那么它在将来可以不断地创新,以及继续保持较低的价格,从而让消费者受益。

如果这两家公司不能解决CMA担心的问题,那么它们可能会接受CMA第二阶段的深入调查。在9月,当此次收购案宣布交易完成的时候,该管制机构就宣布进行相关调查。

在一项声明中,PayPal公司发言人说,“PayPal公司将继续配合CMA的调查工作。我们正努力解决CMA担心的问题,并向该机构证明在我们收购iZettle公司之后这个市场将继续保持自由竞争。”

Paypal公司称,截至去年底,它已拥有超过2亿个活跃用户。此前,它隶属于购物和拍卖网站eBay。在2013年,它收购了转账支付应用Venmo。

Britain’s competition watchdog has warned that PayPal’s $2.2bn acquisition of Swedish financial technology startup iZettle could hamper competition and force up prices.

An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority found that the deal could mean the US payments giant faces “insufficient competition in the UK” after acquiring its “market-leading rival”.

iZettle is a mobile payments company founded by Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson in Stockholm in 2010. It completed its deal with PayPal in September in a move intended to improve the commerce experience for merchants online.

At the time, the deal scuppered iZettle's plan to go public - something it "spent roughly a year" trying to achieve, according to Jacob de Geer, the firm's chief executive. It would have been Europe's largest financial technology initial public offering.

However, the new deal means that iZettle can now make use of PayPal's 19 million merchant relationships. For PayPal, the acquisition gives it in-store presence across new markets in Europe and Latin America.

“While iZettle is a relatively recent entrant to payment services, it has already established a market-leading position in mobile point of sale devices and was well-placed to compete against PayPal in other emerging markets,” said Andrea Gomes da Silva, executive director of the CMA.

“That’s why we are concerned that PayPal’s takeover could lead to higher prices or reduce the quality of the services available to customers.”

The regulator said it was important to assess competition and the impact on customers in the booming payment services market, which is growing fast on the back of new technology.

Completion of the CMA’s Phase 1 investigation has raised concerns about customers receiving a lower-quality service from a joint PayPal-iZettle offering, and the impact on the emerging market for “omni-channel” payments – services that combine online and offline payments into an integrated product.

According to the CMA, iZettle could have potentially benefited customers by driving future innovation and keeping prices lower had it not been taken over.

Both companies will be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation if they are unable to address the CMA’s points. The authority announced a review on the day the deal was finalised in September.

In a statement, a PayPal spokesperson said: “PayPal continues to work cooperatively with the CMA as it conducts its review of the acquisition of iZettle. We are now working to address the CMA’s concerns and demonstrate to the CMA that the market will remain competitive, so we can move forward with integrating iZettle into our global platform.”

Paypal, which was formerly part of eBay and now owns peer-to-peer payments company Venmo, said it had more than 200 million active customer accounts at the end of last year.

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