PayPal has agreed to buy the owner of browser plugin Honey for $4 billion in a move to extend its interaction with consumers beyond the checkout pages on e-commerce sites.
The acquisition of Honey Science Corp. is the largest in PayPal’s story and, according to The Financial Times, is “its most ambitious attempt yet to move beyond its core payments business.”
PayPal has been facing “a new wave of competition from internet giants such as Apple and Google, leading it to search for new ways to cement its ties with customers and become more useful to merchants,” the FT noted.
The Honey plugin allows consumers to track the prices of products and save money by automatically applying coupons and offers when they are looking to make a purchase. It is used by 17 million people and 30,000 businesses.
PayPal is planning to extend the service to the nearly 300 million people who use PayPal and Venmo and to the 24 million merchants that accept PayPal.
“Honey is amongst the most transformative acquisitions in PayPal’s history,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in a news release.
“The combination of Honey’s complementary consumer products with our platform will significantly enhance our ability to drive engagement and play a more meaningful role in the daily lives of our consumers,” he added.
Honey, which is based in Los Angeles, was founded by George Ruan and Ryan Hudson, who will continue to lead the Honey team as part of PayPal’s global consumer product and technology group. “We can take the functionality Honey now offers … and build that into the PayPal and Venmo experiences,” John Kunze, the group’s senior vice president, told TechCrunch.
PayPal’s competitors now include Apple, Google, Facebook and other tech companies that have entered the payments market in recent years.
“With Honey, PayPal immediately shifts the battle away from the checkout page itself to instead compete against all the places people go to discover, browse, get inspired and deal-hunt — whether that’s directly on retailers’ sites or through newer platforms, like Pinterest or Instagram Shopping,” TechCrunch said.