Amazon eyes fintech acquisitions

Amazon eyes fintech acquisitions

Speaking on the fringes of the Money2020 conference in Copenhagen, Amazon executive Patrick Gauthier revealed that the e-commerce giant is contemplating acquisitions in the payments space as fintech valuations come down to earth.

Gauthier heads up Amazon's payments unit, which counts 23 million active users and is experiencing 200% year-on-year growth in merchants applying its Pay with Amazon button to enable consumers to use their Amazon accounts for one-click shopping at other e-commerce sites.

Talking to CNBC at Money2020, Gauthier said: "We created this business unit a year ago, now I'm starting to look at opportunities outside. After a number of years where fintech has been a little bit ahead of itself in terms of valuations things have come back to earth."

A recent report by PwC and Startupbootcamp noted that while startups focused on disrupting payments have hogged the fintech limelight over the last few years, by last year innovation in the areas had already reached a certain level of maturity. Valuations have been dropping in recent times as investors realise that viable businesses need more than just a pretty interface to attract large volumes of users in an area where scale and reach are more important in attracting both payers and payees.

Gauthier did not reveal specific targets but said Amazon is on the lookout for companies with "good teams, people who have a focus on customers, and means through which we will be able to extend the number of user cases and number of places where we can roll out Pay with Amazon".

His comments come as Amazon launched a new global programme designed to help e-commerce platform providers and developers extend the use of Amazon Payments to their merchant customers. The move is a clear signal from Amazon that it plans to step up the pressure on rival providers like PayPal One Tech and Visa Checkout - and the possible forthcoming entry into the business by Apple - as it spreads its payments business across the wider Web.

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