Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) and Afterpay Limited (ASX: APT) today announced that they have entered into a Scheme Implementation Deed under which Square has agreed to acquire all of the issued shares in Afterpay by way of a recommended court-approved Scheme of Arrangement. The transaction has an implied value of approximately US$29 billion (A$39 billion) based on the closing price of Square common stock on July 30, 2021, and is expected to be paid in all stock. The acquisition aims to enable the companies to better deliver compelling financial products and services that expand access to more consumers and drive incremental revenue for merchants of all sizes. The closing of the transaction is expected in the first quarter of calendar year 2022, subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions outlined below.
“Square and Afterpay have a shared purpose. We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible, and inclusive, and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles,” said Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder and CEO of Square. “Together, we can better connect our Cash App and Seller ecosystems to deliver even more compelling products and services for merchants and consumers, putting the power back in their hands.”
Afterpay, the pioneering global 'buy now, pay later' (BNPL) platform, will accelerate Square’s strategic priorities for its Seller and Cash App ecosystems. Square plans to integrate Afterpay into its existing Seller and Cash App business units, enable even the smallest of merchants to offer BNPL at checkout, give Afterpay consumers the ability to manage their installment payments directly in Cash App, and give Cash App customers the ability to discover merchants and BNPL offers directly within the app.
“Buy now, pay later has been a powerful growth tool for sellers globally,” said Alyssa Henry, Lead of Square’s Seller business. “We are thrilled to not only add this product to our Seller ecosystem, but to do it with a trusted and innovative team.”
“The addition of Afterpay to Cash App will strengthen our growing networks of consumers around the world, while supporting consumers with flexible, responsible payment options,” said Brian Grassadonia, Lead of Square’s Cash App business. “Afterpay will help deepen and reinforce the connections between our Cash App and Seller ecosystems, and accelerate our ability to offer a rich suite of commerce capabilities to Cash App customers.”
Afterpay is an industry leader with a best-in-class product and strong cultural alignment with Square. As of June 30, 2021, Afterpay serves more than 16 million consumers and nearly 100,000 merchants globally, including major retailers across key verticals such as fashion, homewares, beauty, sporting goods and more. Afterpay empowers consumers to access the things they want and need, while allowing them to maintain financial wellness and control. Afterpay also assists merchants in growing their businesses by helping to drive repeat purchases, increase average transaction sizes, and provide their buyers with the ability to pay over time. Afterpay is deeply committed to helping people spend responsibly without incurring service fees for those who pay on time, interest, or revolving debt, and supports consumers in a number of countries across APAC, North America and Europe (including under its Clearpay brand).
“By combining with Square, we will further accelerate our growth in the U.S. and globally, offer access to a new category of in-person merchants, and provide a broader platform of new and valuable capabilities and services to our merchants and consumers. We are fully aligned with Square’s purpose and, together, we hope to continue redefining financial wellness and responsible spending for our customers,” said Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar, Afterpay Co-Founders and Co-CEOs. “The transaction marks an important recognition of the Australian technology sector as homegrown innovation continues to be shared more broadly throughout the world. It also provides our shareholders with the opportunity to be a part of future growth of an innovative company aligned with our vision.”
For Square, BNPL presents an attractive opportunity supported by shifting consumer preferences away from traditional credit, especially among younger consumers, consistent demand from merchants for new ways to grow their sales, and the global growth in omnichannel commerce. Combined, Square and Afterpay’s complementary businesses present an opportunity to drive growth across multiple strategic levers, including:
Enhance both the Seller and Cash App ecosystems. Afterpay’s global merchant base will accelerate Square’s growth with larger sellers and expansion into new geographies, while helping to drive further acquisition of new Square sellers. Afterpay will expand Cash App’s growing product offering, enable customers to manage their repayments, and help customers discover new merchants when the Afterpay App is integrated into Cash App.
Bring added value, differentiation, and scale to Afterpay. Afterpay will benefit from Square’s large and growing customer base of more than 70 million annual transacting active Cash App customers and millions of sellers, which will expand Afterpay’s reach and growth both online and in-person. Afterpay consumers will receive the benefits of Cash App’s financial tools, including money transfer, stock and Bitcoin purchases, Cash Boost, and more.
Drive long-term growth with meaningful revenue synergy opportunities. Square believes Afterpay will be accretive to gross profit growth with a modest decrease in Adjusted EBITDA margins expected in the first year after completion of the transaction. Square sees an opportunity to invest behind Afterpay’s strong unit economics as well as attractive growth synergies, including the opportunity to introduce offerings and drive incremental growth for sellers and increased engagement for Cash App customers.
Afterpay's Co-Founders and Co-CEOs will join Square upon completion of the transaction and help lead Afterpay’s respective merchant and consumer businesses, as part of Square’s Seller and Cash App ecosystems. Square will appoint one Afterpay director as a member of the Square Board following closing.
Under the terms of the Scheme Implementation Deed, which has been approved by the members of the Boards of Directors of both Square and Afterpay, Afterpay shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.375 shares of Square Class A common stock for each Afterpay ordinary share they hold on the record date. Square may elect to pay 1% of total consideration in cash.
Square has agreed to establish a secondary listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to allow Afterpay shareholders to trade Square shares via CHESS Depositary Interests (CDIs) on the ASX. Afterpay shareholders will be able to elect whether to receive the scheme consideration in NYSE listed Square Class A common stock or CDIs. The CDIs listed on the ASX are expected to be eligible for S&P index inclusion in Australia.
Based on Square’s closing price of US$247.26 on July 30, 2021, this represents an implied transaction price of approximately A$126.21 per Afterpay share, a premium of approximately 30.6% to Afterpay’s latest closing price of A$96.66. This represents an approximate 21.9% premium over the 10-day volume weighted average Afterpay share price, and an approximate 10.5% premium over the 30-day volume weighted average Afterpay share price, each as of July 30, 2021. Following completion of the transaction, Afterpay shareholders are expected to own approximately 18.5% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.
The transaction is subject to conditions precedent as is customary for transactions of this nature, including, among other things, receipt of required regulatory approvals and the approval of shareholders of both companies.