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PayPal is in late-stage talks to acquire Pinterest

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PayPal is in late-stage talks to buy social media company Pinterest, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. This person asked to remain anonymous because the deal discussions were confidential.

Shares of Pinterest soared Wednesday after Bloomberg first reported that PayPal may acquire the social media company.

The company’s stock was halted twice, before gaining about 11% as of midday. PayPal, meanwhile, dipped nearly 6% on the news.

PayPal has discussed acquiring the company for a potential price of around $70 a share, which would value Pinterest at about $39 billion, according to Bloomberg. Pinterest stock closed at $55.58 per share on Tuesday.

PayPal and Pinterest declined to comment.

A banner for the online image board Pinterest Inc. hangs from the New York Stock Exchange on the morning that Pinterest makes its initial public offering on April 18, 2019.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Pinterest went public in April 2019, where it was valued at just more than $10 billion.

Competitive pressure from e-commerce platform Shopify has pushed PayPal to explore the acquisition, the person told CNBC. Shopify has heavily invested in blending e-commerce and fintech. Last year, it partnered with Affirm, a buy now pay later provider, to become the exclusive provider or point-of-sale financing for Shop Pay, Shopify’s checkout service.

PayPal has largely benefited from the boom in online shopping since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, it pitted itself against the growing buy-now-pay-later companies with its “Pay in 4” offering. A potential acquisition of Pinterest could push the company into social commerce, a growing space that other tech giants are already working on.

Facebook, for example, has heavily pushed into making Instagram shoppable. Last summer, it began testing a dedicated “Shop” tab on its home screen. It also lets users shop through regular Instagram posts, Live, Stories and its Explore feed, and has tested shopping on its short-form video feature Reels.

Social commerce lets companies track clicks and purchases within their respective apps, so they can prove the effectiveness of ads to advertisers. It also could allow the companies to receive a cut of each transaction.

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