PriceRunner Acquired by Major Private Company—Will It Ever Be Public?

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Nov. 3 2021, Published 11:08 a.m. ET

Consumer sales isn't the only way to benefit from the e-commerce boom. PriceRunner knows this firsthand—the Swedish comparison shopping platform has grown its presence enough to get acquired by major retail bank Klarna.

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PriceRunner isn't public and neither is its new parent company. Still, the fintech platform has an important presence for investors in the sector who want to understand what's coming next.

Klarna acquired PriceRunner for just over $1 billion

Global financial services brand Klarna bought fellow Swedish shopping comparison tool PriceRunner for a little over $1 billion.

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Kristofer Arwin, Martin Alexandersson, and Magnus Wiberg founded PriceRunner in 1999 and put themselves in the revolutionary camp of Swedish tech entrepreneurs.

Klarna is in the midst of expanding its repertoire of subsidiaries. The global financial services company has acquired six companies in 2021 alone, including Hero, Apprl, and now PriceRunner.

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PriceRunner got a new CEO in the process

On Nov. 2, the day Klarna announced its acquisition of PriceRunner, the latter company announced a brand-new CEO.

Mikael Lindahl will now lead PriceRunner. Previously, 34-year-old Lindahl spearheaded a smaller company—streaming platform Film2home.

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Paul Fischbein, a PriceRunner board member, discussed the brand and its new CEO. He said, "PriceRunner is ready to accelerate internationally. The product, team and platform, every department has the capacity to and is prepared to start a new, exciting journey together. The board already knows Mikael and we believe his focus on growth, his leadership and experience is perfect as PriceRunner now raises the bar even higher."

Is PriceRunner publicly traded?

PriceRunner is a privately held company. Its new parent company Klarna is also privately held, despite its estimated $45.6 billion enterprise value (according to a recent Softbank-led funding round). Klarna's buy-now-pay-later offering has made it especially valuable in the modern economic landscape.

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This isn't PriceRunner's first acquisition. In 2004, now-defunct marketing company Conversant purchased PriceRunner for an undisclosed amount. However, the once-public Conversant was delisted from the Nasdaq Exchange in 2014 following its own acquisition from a privately held company.

Needless to say, PriceRunner's new parent company is a few echelons above Conversant, which puts it on a higher pedestal than it might have otherwise been had things not changed.

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Will Klarna IPO?

As for whether or not Klarna itself will go through an IPO, the question is up in the air. CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said about the matter, "The volatility in the market right now makes me nervous to IPO to be honest. [...] I think it would be nice to IPO when it’s a little bit more sound. And right now it doesn’t feel really sound out there."

Siemiatkowski divulged this perspective on a potential IPO in late September at the London Tech Week conference. Klarna's current value of nearly $46 billion means that the company is doing something—or a lot of things—right, and the executive team might be hesitant to fiddle with a well-functioning operation.

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