By Corrie Driebusch, and Ben Dummett, and Julie Steinberg
Klarna Bank AB is nearing a deal to raise new money at a valuation of around $6.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, a humbling comedown and a testament to the punishing environment facing startup companies .
The Sweden-based specialty lending and online payments provider is negotiating to raise about $650 million mostly from existing investors led by Sequoia Capital, the people said. Michael Moritz, who is the chairman of the well-known venture-capital firm, serves in the same role at Klarna.
The deal has yet to be completed and could still hit last-minute snags, the people said. But if completed, it would represent a huge discount on the company’s valuation when investors led by an arm of SoftBank Group Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +0.18% valued Klarna at $45.6 billion in June 2021.
Klarna’s core offering, known as buy-now-pay-later, is embedded in online checkout pages for popular retailers such as Macy’s /zigman2/quotes/201854387/composite M +0.96% and Bed Bath & Beyond /zigman2/quotes/209801102/composite BBBY +32.68% . Consumers use Klarna to break up payments over time for things they order online.
Klarna competes directly with credit card companies, and some investors viewed the company as possibly the next PayPal Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208054269/composite PYPL -1.71% or Block Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205989440/composite SQ -2.20% , companies that have grown by stealing business traditionally dominated by banks.
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