PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) announced on Wednesday that it will acquire discount discovery platform Honey Science Corporation in a deal valued at $4 billion -- PayPal's biggest acquisition to date. Honey developed a browser add-on and mobile app that help consumers find discounts while providing a host of other money-saving tools.

Honey is best known for its popular discount-finding tool, but has expanded to offer a suite of products and services, including a mobile shopping assistant, an offers and rewards program, and price-tracking tools and alerts. The company boasts approximately 17 million monthly active users, and PayPal said Honey helped millions of people find more than $1 billion in savings in the past year alone.

By adding Honey to its toolbox, PayPal will be able to join consumers on their shopping journey much sooner -- even before they get to the checkout line.

A man looking at the Honey app applying discounts to an online order on his laptop.

A screenshot of the Honey app. Image source: Honey.

A taste of Honey

Honey began as a simple browser add-on to help consumers search e-commerce websites to find the most compelling deals and discounts from among a variety of seemingly identical choices -- like finding the best price for the same product from different sellers on, for example.

The platform provides users with a host of money-saving tools that allow them to track price changes, get alerts when a price drops below a certain threshold, and browse a variety of savings offers. Honey also has a rebate program called Honey Gold that rewards users for shopping at any of 4,000 participating retail merchants.

Here's what PayPal CEO Dan Schulman had to say about the combination:

Honey is among the most transformative acquisitions in PayPal's history. It provides a broad portfolio of services to simplify the consumer shopping experience, while at the same time making it more affordable and rewarding. The combination of Honey's complementary consumer products with our platform will significantly enhance our ability to drive engagement and play a more meaningful role in the daily lives of our consumers.

Co-founders George Ruan and Ryan Hudson will continue to lead the Honey team as part of PayPal's global consumer product and technology organization. Honey was already profitable in 2018. The acquisition will be subject to regulatory approval, and PayPal expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2020. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to PayPal's non-GAAP earnings per share in 2021.

An ongoing spending spree

PayPal has been spending like a drunken sailor over the past couple of years, acquiring complementary companies and technologies that help expand its market. In mid-2018, PayPal made what was then its largest purchase ever, acquiring small-business tools and payment platform iZettle, which gave it a foothold in a host of small businesses in Europe and Latin America.

It didn't stop there. The "war on cash" specialist made several more acquisitions in rapid succession, buying predictive artificial intelligence start-up Jetlore, merchant payment distribution company Hyperwallet, and fraud prevention specialist Simility.

All of these companies, while they provide different capabilities, have one thing in common: They help PayPal expand its market -- whether it's further into the realm of payments, discounts, e-commerce, or merchant services. 

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