H&M takes a $20m stake in fintech startup Klarna

Emily Nicolle
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Tiffany Young And H&M Celebrate Their Fall 2018 Collaboration
H&M chief Karl-Johan Persson said the firm was "impressed with what Klarna has achieved to date" (Source: Getty)

Swedish fintech startup Klarna has today announced a global partnership with fashion powerhouse H&M, which included a $20m (£15.3m) investment in the business.

The deal will see Klarna integrate its digital payments technology into H&M's physical and online stores via its payment programme H&M Club1.

Klarna allows shoppers to pay securely for products online with flexible payment options such as its "try before you buy" Pay Later service, where users can shop without having to pay the retailer for up to 30 days, interest-free. The partnership follows Klarna's other deals with brands such as JD Sports, Topshop and Asos.

The partnership is expected go live in 2019 in Sweden and the UK, before rolling out globally.

Though no valuation is being disclosed after this latest investment, Klarna was last valued in 2017 at $2.5bn. Other backers of the business include Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, who also retains a stake in peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle, early backing from Spotify-investor Northzone, and a strategic stake from Visa.

Read more: Fintech M&A deals swell to $40bn in first half of 2018

While no IPO plans or potential float locations have been confirmed, Klarna's chief commercial officer Michael Rouse told City A.M. that the startup is committed to achieving growth and acceleration of its business, while being proud of its European heritage.

"We have global ambitions," said Rouse. "But an IPO is not a driver in any of those decisions."

When asked if the UK remains a strong location for Klarna, Rouse added: "We look for talent to grow our business, and want to make sure we're based in the right locations to access that talent."

"We're highly committed to the UK business, which is another example of the growth and acceleration we've seen in the UK over the last two years."

Rouse pointed out that he had just moved to London himself in order to bolster Klarna's presence in the UK.

"We're very much invested in our London operations [...] It's an exciting time to be here with all the development and talent at our disposal in this market."

The startup announced it had acquired UK-based Close Brothers Retail Finance, the point-of-sale funding arm of Close Brothers Group, last month.