Summary:

PayPal is close to finalizing a deal to acquire e-commerce engine Braintree, according to the Wall Street Journal. Braintree occupies the increasingly lucrative middle ground between small business payments and large enterprise operations.

Braintree’s growing success in becoming the e-commerce provider for internet startups has attracted PayPal’s attention. PayPal is in negotiations to acquire Braintree and is close to finalizing the details of the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While PayPal remains king of the peer-to-peer payments and powers a good deal of the e-commerce transactions between small businesses and their customers, Braintree and competitors like Stripe have found a lucrative middle ground between PayPal and the large enterprise-focused providers such as Chase Paymentech. Braintree targets e-commerce an collaborative consumption startups like Airbnb, Uber and Fab.com, giving them tools such international transaction support that would normally only be available to much larger companies.

The model is proving to be successful. In July, Braintree revealed it was processing $10 billion in transaction globally – up from $4 billion the previous year. It’s also growing beyond U.S. borders and is seeing a large chunk of its transactions come from mobile apps. Braintree even bought peer-to-peer payments provider Venmo, to dip into PayPal’s core market.

The Journal’s unnamed sources didn’t provide any financial details on the negotiations. In the last two years, Braintree has raised $70 million and is backed by Accel Partners, NEA, RRE Ventures and Greycroft Partners.

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