April 26, 2018 / 8:29 PM / 3 months ago

Square to buy website building platform Weebly

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Square Inc (SQ.N), the payments company led by Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, will acquire website building startup Weebly, the company said on Thursday.

An advertisement for the Square Inc payment processor is seen outside a vendors site along the High Line in New York March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Square will pay about $365 million in a mix of cash and stock for Weebly, a San Francisco-based company that provides tools to help individuals and small businesses create websites or online stores.

The acquisition will help Square provide a wider breadth of services to its small business clients and expand its customer base globally, Square said.

Nearly 40 percent of Weebly’s customers are outside the United States.

Square’s flagship technology is a credit card reader that turns smartphones or tablets into a payment terminal. It is popular with small merchants as it allows them to process credit card transactions without a cash register or expensive systems.

The company, which went public in 2015, has been seeking to diversify its revenue stream by attracting larger merchants and providing more diverse services to its clients including loans, payment cards and accounting software.

While it has a strong presence with brick-and-mortar businesses, it has been looking to provide more tools to allow its customers to sell online. Through the acquisition it hopes to give merchants a more comprehensive suite of services.

“Square began its journey with in-person solutions while Weebly began its journey online. Since then, we’ve both been building services to bridge these channels, and we can go even further and faster together,” Square CEO Dorsey said in a statement.

Weebly has 625,000 paid subscribers, and millions of customers which use its free services, including website design website hosting and marketing tools.

Square is also in the process of exporting its flagship payments product globally, and last year expanded to the UK, in its first major European foray. While the company has largely focused on growing in the United States, startups around the world have launched similar services.

Back home Square is also planning to make a move into more traditional banking services. Late last year it has applied to be a so-called industrial loan company, an entity that enjoys some of the same privileges as a traditional bank but falls short of a full bank charter.

Reporting by Anna Irrera; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Diane Craft

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