Square denies buyout talks with Google, other tech companies

Business & Economy -

Reports in late 2013 suggested that Square, the mobile payments provider, would go public as soon as 2014, though that now appears less likely.

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Source: squareup.com
Source: squareup.com

Square on April 21 denied that it has held acquisition talks with Google. The denial came following a Wall Street Journal report suggesting that the company's key executives -- it was founded in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey -- were looking to sell the company as a result of mounting losses.

"We are not, nor have we ever been in acquisition talks with Google. While we appreciate that Square may be an attractive target for some companies, we have never seriously considered selling to anyone or been in any talks to do so." Aaron Zamost, Director of Corporate Communications at Square

The WSJ reported that Square had lost $100 million in 2013 and that is has "consumed" more than half of the $430 million in financing it has received since 2009.

"The rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated." Sarah Friar, Square CFO

In an Aug. 11 profile in Fast Company, Square shrugged off accusations that it is struggling, telling the magazine that earlier news reports about its possible IPO were filled with inaccuracies. CEO Jack Dorsey said the negative reports were part of a "takedown" phase that happens to many tech companies.

Square lets merchants accept credit cards using their iOS and Android devices (among other services). The company charges merchants a fee of 2.75% per transaction. Square is expected to reach $1 billion in sales in 2014, up from $550 million in 2013. Source: squareup.com

Square lets merchants accept credit cards using their iOS and Android devices (among other services). The company charges merchants a fee of 2.75% per transaction. Square is expected to reach $1 billion in sales in 2014, up from $550 million in 2013.

Square offers other payment-related services, including a consumer app called Square Order that lets users pick up food orders from nearby restaurants, and Feedback, a service that provides small business owners with customer feedback (for $10 per month) that can be used to "build a better business."

Another service, called Square Capital, which was announced on May 28, provides cash advances to select small businesses. Unlike traditional loans that are paid back in monthly installments, Square Capital loans are paid back as part of everyday business, with Square taking on an additional 10% per transaction to cover the loan.

Square on Feb. 11 announced a deal with grocery chain Whole Foods that will see Square payment systems installed in select stores. The deal is Square's second with a national retailer (the first was with Starbucks in 2012).

Square confirmed Aug. 4 that it had acquired Caviar, a food delivery startup aimed at restaurateurs. Square said the acquisition was part of its goal to help "independent sellers... grow their business." While no terms were disclosed, the New York Times reported that it was worth around $90 million in Square stock.

Square reached a valuation of around $5 billion in January 2014 as insiders sold shares on the private market. Several reports suggested in late 2013 that the company could go public in 2014, but the private stock sale may make an IPO unlikely in the short term.

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