LONDON (Reuters) - Private equity group Permira has bought a stake of at least 10 percent in payments firm Klarna, one of Europe's most highly valued tech startups, the companies said on Friday.
Payments companies have become attractive targets for buyout groups and credit card firms seeking to take advantage of a switch from cash transactions to smartphone or mobile payments.
Permira will acquire the Klarna stake from existing shareholders General Atlantic and DST Global, and the Sweden-based firm's co-founder Niklas Adalberth.
General Atlantic and DST Global will cease to be shareholders in Klarna after the deal, they added in a statement.
Klarna, which says it handles 650,000 transactions per day, got a banking license from Sweden's financial watchdog last month, two weeks after Anders Holch Povlsen, owner of Danish fashion retailer Bestseller, bought a stake.
Permira's investment in Klarna follows a move by a consortium of Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners to buy payments processing company Paysafe Group.
Many more deals have been announced over the past month, including French payments specialist Ingenico buying Stockholm-based rival Bambora from Nordic Capital for 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion).
U.S. credit card processor Vantiv made a 7.7 billion pounds bid for Britain's Worldpay and Danish payment services firm Nets A/S said it had been approached by potential buyers.
Reporting by Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru and Clara Denina in London; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Alexander Smith