PayPal is to acquire direct carrier billing operator Zong for $240 million in cash
Launched in 2008, Zong is designed to let users make online purchases for virtual goods using their mobile phone. Customers hit the firm's button at participating Web sites when they want to make a payment. They then enter their mobile phone number and a secure PIN is sent to the handset which is entered online. The company has connections with 250 carrier networks in 45 countries.
As well as its merchant and carrier connections, Zong is also the mobile payment provider for Facebook Credits.
PayPal president Scott Thomson says: "Zong's expertise in carrier billing means that it has the potential to reach the more than 4 billion people around the world who have mobile phones - including people who don't have (or choose not to use) bank accounts or credit cards online. By combining Zong and PayPal, we believe we can offer more services to more customers, ultimately bringing even more value to how people pay and get paid."
Formerly a division of Echovox, Zong last year completed a $15M round of funding led by Matrix Partners. A move that that also saw Matrix partner and PayPal chief technology officer Dana Stalder join the board.