June 7, 2017 / 7:07 AM / 2 months ago

Danish fashion tycoon invests in Swedish payments firm Klarna

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Anders Holch Povlsen, owner of Danish fashion retailer Bestseller, is buying a stake in payments firm Klarna, one of Europe's most highly valued tech startups, the firm said on Wednesday.

A Klarna spokeswoman declined to comment on the precise size of the stake, but said it would be at least 10 percent.

Founded in 2005 and backed by investors such as Sequoia Capital and Atomico, Klarna is one of Europe's so-called tech unicorns with a $2.25 billion valuation at the end of 2015.

Klarna said Povlsen's company Brightfolk would buy shares from General Atlantic, DST Global and Niklas Adalberth, who will all still retain stakes in the firm.

"I am delighted to welcome such a strong partner into Klarna," co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said in a statement.

Bestseller includes brands such as Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, Only and Selected. Povlsen also has significant holdings in e-commerce fashion sites Asos (ASOS.L) and Zalando (ZALG.DE).

Klarna said it had seen strong transaction volume growth in the first months of this year, after growth of 50 percent last year, partly driven by 17,000 new merchants in different markets.

The firm, which has 1,500 employees and operates in 18 countries, increased its revenues by 20 percent to 992 million crowns ($114.4 million) in the first quarter, while operating profit rose to 138 million from 31 million.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; Editing by Mark Potter

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