Confirming speculation in the market and in the media, American Express (NYSE:AXP) announced Monday it is acquiring Kabbage, a privately held fintech company that specializes in small-business lending.
The price of the transaction was not disclosed by American Express in its announcement. Previous speculation about the deal priced it as high as $850 million.
The acquisition doesn't cover all assets held by Kabbage. American Express will own the technology used by the company -- most significantly its online platform -- plus the data it has compiled, its intellectual property, and its employees.
Notably absent from that list is Kabbage's loan book. In recent months, Kabbage has become deeply involved in the U.S. government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that targets the small-business segment. Outside of loans, Kabbage offers a suite of financial products and services, such as checking accounts designed for small-business clients.
The deal fits into American Express's strategy of targeting the segment as a crucial customer base. In its announcement, the payment card giant said that "[t]his acquisition accelerates our plans to offer U.S. small businesses an easy and efficient way to manage their payments and cash flow digitally in one place, which is more critical than ever in today's environment."
American Express said it anticipates the deal will close by the end of this year.
Although investors tend to favor synergistic acquisitions like this one, they might be dismayed that Kabbage's loan book is not part of the deal. On Monday, they traded American Express stock down by almost 2.9% on a day when the S&P 500 closed higher.