It wasn’t all that long ago that Visa was putting the final touches on a $2 billion acquisition ofonline fraud prevention company CyberSource. Now the credit card company has made another big splash that will continue the aggressive expansion of its digital and mobile commerce offerings.
Visa Inc. announced today that it has reached an agreement to buy PlaySpan Inc., a privately-held outfit that handles transactions for digital goods within online gaming, digital media and social networks.
Visa’s going to be paying about $190 million in cash for PlaySpan, with the potential for some additional considerations in the event of any ‘performance milestones.’ The deal should be completed during this year’s second fiscal quarter pending all normal closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Couple this upcoming deal with the CyberSource acquisition and the rapid expansion of Visa’s RightCliq service and you start to see that the credit card giant is making good on its goal of becoming an e-commerce leader, and quickly.
This latest move is clearly aimed at expanding what Visa sees as the most crucial components of e-commerce: digital and mobile offerings.
PlaySpan, which is based in Santa Clara, CA, runs what it calls a Monetization-as-a-Service platform that lets retailers monetize their content through a suite of payment and commerce-related solutions in fraud and risk management, analytics, merchandising and global payment connectivity. PlaySpan’s technology enables merchants to give consumers the ability to make safe and convenient online purchases for things like game credits, enhanced memberships and digital goods.
The company has already established itself as a leader in the digital goods area, and judging by recent data, business is good. Digital goods generated nearly $25 billion in consumer spending around the globe last year, and that number is expected to explode to $280 billion by 2014.
PlaySpan is also backed by a number of high-end venture funds, including Easton Capitol, Menlo Ventures, Novel TMT Ventures, STIC, Time Warner Investments, Vodafone Ventures, and GE Asset Management, just to name a few.
With strong backing and a solid offering, it’s not hard to see why Visa is bringing PlaySpan into the fold. As we said, Visa’s had its sights set on e-commerce leadership for quite some time and even before this move, the results were beginning to show: Visa claims that 45 percent of U.S. online spending takes place on its’ network and its fiscal Q1 2011 e-commerce payment volume is reportedly up 25 percent year-over-year.
What are your thoughts? Is Visa eventually going to become the de facto online shopping resource simply because of the diverse assets the company is starting to compile and employ? What does this mean for comparison engines and the like? Leave us a comment!