PayPal announced today that it has agreed to buy Honey Science Corporation, the makers of a $ 4 billion web browser offer and mobile application, mostly cash. The acquisition, which is PayPal's largest so far, will give the payment giant a foothold earlier in the customer's shopping trip. For example, instead of just competing on the checkout side for credit cards or Apple Pay, PayPal will jump ahead to become part of the deal discovery process.
Currently, Honey & # 39; s 17 million active users each month utilize a suite of savings-saving tools to track prices, get alerts, create lists, browse offers, and participate in an Ebates-like rewards program called Honey Gold. Users tend to be younger, millennial shoppers, both men and women.
PayPal aims to add Honey's technology to its own product line and extend the reach of PayPal to 300 million users.
"The thrill is that we can take the functionality Honey now offers ̵
In addition, PayPal's network of 24 million trading partners will have the opportunity to offer targeted and more personalized campaigns to consumers as a means to acquire new business and drive sales. can also be integrated into Honey to finance larger purchases.
Honey has flown under the radar to some extent since its founding in 2012.
Originally only a browser extension, Honey tracks sales and retailer promotional codes, as a competition to RetailMeNot and others. What makes the extension so useful is that it automatically tries all the eligible promotional codes for you during checkout, and then selects the one that has the most savings and uses it on your behalf. This helps buyers feel more comfortable with their purchases and reduces shopping cart delivery.
The company also rolled out features to inform customers about a product's pricing history, including historical pricing of any product on Amazon's marketplace. In 2017, Honey launched DropList, which aims to track and notify users of lower prices, as well as tools for finding travel deals.
As more consumers switched shopping to e-commerce merchants, Honey's user base also grew rapidly.
The browser extension now works on approximately 30,000 merchant websites, including fashion, technology, travel and even pizza delivery. Last year, Honey publicly shared that its 10 million members had saved over $ 800 million by using their tools. As of today, Honey's 17 million members have saved more than $ 2 billion so far.
“Honey is one of the most transformative acquisitions in PayPal history. It provides a broad portfolio of services to simplify the shopping experience for consumers, while making it more affordable and rewarding, "said Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal, in a statement.
" The combination of Honey's complementary consumer products with our platform will increase our ability to engage and play a more meaningful role in the everyday lives of our consumers. As a chosen partner for our dealers, this is another way we can help them build and strengthen their customer relationships, provide personalized offers and drive incremental sales. The combination of Honey and PayPal adds another significant and meaningful dimension to our two-sided platform, ”Schulman added.
The acquisition also gives PayPal a way to fight back against the increased competition from Apple, Google, Facebook and other technology companies that have entered the payment market in recent years. For example, in Apple's Q4 2019 revenue, CEO Tim Cook noted that Apple Pay has now exceeded the PayPal transaction volume by $ 3 billion this quarter. Meanwhile, analysts predict that Facebook Pay has the potential to secure both Apple Pay and PayPal.
Then there are PayPal's original competitors – the world's largest card network such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. These companies are also struggling to stay relevant online, with a new PayPal competitor to simplify online checkout.
With Honey, PayPal immediately shifts the battle from the box office itself to instead compete against all the places people go to discover, browse, get inspired and deal hunt – whether directly on retailer's websites or through newer platforms, such as Pinterest or Instagram shopping.
As a result of the acquisition, Honey co-founders George Ruan and Ryan Hudson will join PayPal where they will work on product integrations and scale the technology to a much larger user base. Honey is the predominantly LA-based team of 350 employees.
The Honey team and headquarters will remain in LA, where they have just signed a lease on a new office space with expansion goals in mind.
PayPal assets and reach with our technology, we can build powerful new online shopping experiences for consumers and merchants, ”Hudson said. "We want the opportunity to help millions of retailers effectively reach consumers with offers that add more and more value to Honey members."
To date, $ 49 million has been raised from investors, including Ludlow Ventures, Zuma Partners, Mucker Capital, SXE Ventures, BAM Ventures, Plug and Play, Wonder Ventures, Cendana Capital, Anthos Capital and others, according to Crunchbase.
Honey was already profitable on net income in 2018, PayPal reports. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, subject to government approval. It is expected to be accredited for PayPal non-GAAP earnings per share in 2021.
PayPal will hold a conference call at 2 pm today to discuss the transaction further.