PayPal to invest US$750M into MercadoLibre LatAm's e-commerce powerhouse

It’s not only SoftBank that’s eyeing up the opportunity to tap into the quickly expanding market for e-commerce in Latin America. MercadoLibre, a marketplace and financial services powerhouse based out of Argentina and serving 18 countries across the region, has announced that PayPal is investing $750 million, and VC Dragoneer another $100 million, as part of a $1.8 billion equity offering to grow its business — specifically to expand the functionality of its e-commerce platform; improve its logistics infrastructure; and invest in financial technologies “that further solidify the company’s position as a powerful provider of inclusive end-to-end financial technology and payments solutions.”

The remaining $1 billion of the equity offering will be offered as common stock, the company said. PayPal  and Dragoneer’s investments are contingent on the company raising the remainder publicly, although judging by the company’s track record as a public stock, and the fact that PayPal also announced this news on its own site, it doesn’t appear the parties are in great doubt about the deal’s completion.

MercadoLibre  is traded on Nasdaq and currently has a market cap of $21.75 billion.

The investment is both a financial and strategic one for both MercadoLibre and PayPal.

After getting spun out from eBay several years ago, PayPal has been on a mission to diversify its customer base to include a wider variety use cases, and partnerships to power payments for different marketplaces.

“Digital commerce in Latin America is experiencing tremendous growth and MercadoLibre is well-positioned for continued leadership,” said Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal, in a statement. “We’ve been impressed with the digital commerce and payments ecosystem Marcos and his team have built. We see great opportunities to integrate our respective capabilities to create unique and valuable payment experiences for our combined 500 million customers throughout the region and around the world.”

The two have already worked together and the financial commitment PayPal is making here not only will help it reap dividends from MercadoLibre’s business growth, but also ensure that it integrates ever more of its features in prominent ways to drive more transactions on its own rails. And given how payments is actually more localised than many people might assume, it also gives the company a direct pipeline into tracking and catering to consumer and merchant tastes and preferences when it comes to buying and selling goods and related financial services.

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