PayPal Not Planning to Acquire Image-Sharing App Pinterest

Financial tech company PayPal clarified that it is not currently pursuing a deal to acquire image-sharing social platform Pinterest, shelving reports that surfaced last week, at least for the time being. PayPal stock rose approximately 3 percent while Pinterest shares fell 12 percent on news that the digital pinboard site was not being wooed to the tune of $70 per share, largely in stock, for a deal valued at roughly $45 billion. Assuming discussions were taking place, it’s hard to know if PayPal got cold feet, caving to a mostly negative market response, or decided now may not be the time to grow.

A visually oriented, more hobbyist-skewing alternative to Instagram, Pinterest seemed a good match for the financial services firm, moving them into content with a prettily dressed window to e-tailing. But a Sunday update on PayPal’s website said it is “not pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest at this time.”

A source familiar with the details told CNBC that PayPal “was in late-stage talks to buy social media company Pinterest on Wednesday, after it was first reported by Bloomberg.” Shares of Pinterest surged on news of a buyout, was halted twice then closed up about 12 percent while PayPal shares declined nearly 5 percent on that news.

CNBC attributed PayPal’s interest in the social sharing platform to “competitive pressure from e-commerce platform Shopify,” which has been on a content tear, teaming in August with TikTok for in-app shopping. In June, Bloomberg reported that Shopify opened its e-commerce checkout system to all retailers selling on Facebook and Google, expanding existing agreements.

Shopify has substantially endeavored to meld e-commerce and fintech, CNBC said. Meanwhile, Betakit cites NYU Stern School of Business professor of marketing Scott Galloway as predicting Shopify will purchase Snapchat on the Friday episode of “Pivot,” a Vox podcast he co-hosts with Kara Swisher.

Cancellation of a sale “dashed the prospect of Pinterest getting access to PayPal’s massive user base,” Reuters wrote. JP Morgan payments analyst Tien-tsin Huang said in a research note to clients that a Pinterest deal would bring “significant integration risk” for PayPal, which has no experience “running a platform primarily focused on driving user engagement and advertising.”