A source tells re/code Twitter (TWTR) is close to a deal with online payments upstart and PayPal (EBAY) rival Stripe to allow it to handle credit card payments from its ~250M monthly users.
The deal could allow Twitter, which entirely relies on ads and (to a lesser extent) data licensing to monetize its platform, to open up a new revenue stream. With many top brands and retailers already advertising on Twitter, there are also opportunities to link marketing campaigns with e-commerce. Chinese microblogging leader Sina already supports online payments.
TechCrunch reports Twitter also considered using PayPal before deciding on Stripe, and is looking to build an e-commerce marketplace similar to the one offered by fellow Jack Dorsey company Square.
Though still the 800-lb. gorilla of online payments, PayPal is facing stiffening competition from Stripe, Amazon (previous), and others when competing for the business of e-commerce sites not named eBay.
"Rising smartphone adoption is disrupting both the retail industry and the payments industry," says Compass Point's Douglas Greiner, making EBAY a top pick in financial technology, and upping the price target to $70 from $60. "EBay is uniquely positioned to benefit from the secular trend via the marketplaces platform and the PayPal platform."
Seven major U.S. technology companies paid just £54M in U.K. corporate tax in 2012 - the last year for which figures are available - despite raking in combined sales of $15B (£9.13B), the FT reports.
The tax paid by Microsoft (MSFT), eBay (EBAY), Yahoo (YHOO), Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) fell, while that of Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) rose.
The report comes amid efforts in the U.K. and elsewhere to stop multinational corporations from exploiting what one British legislator described as a "tax bonanza" by using low-tax jurisdictions such as Ireland, Switzerland and Luxembourg to keep their payments at minimal levels.
Piper Jaffray dissects the most recent sales data dump from ChannelAdvisor to find eBay (EBAY) is tracking toward in-line with analyst estimates for December.
The investment firm notes the comparable periods this year are causing some distortions which are exaggerating reported sales trends. Piper calls out that the recent data set includes the pre-Christmas e-commerce lull whereas in last year's comparable the lull is rolled into the next week.
Data from ChannelAdvisor shows slowing sales momentum during the third week of December for the retail clients the firm tabulates e-commerce activity on.
Tracked sales through eBay (EBAY) were up 9.6% for the post-Thanksgiving period through the third week of December, while Amazon (AMZN) saw a 25.2% gain through ChannelAdvisor's system. Both marks indicate a decelerating trend for the period
eBay may have lost some ground as other retailers offered more extensive expedited shipping options.
ChannelAdvisor shifted the comparable tracking dates to align the Thanksgiving period holiday.
Wells Fargo bangs the same drum as other firms on the promotional fervor being seen in retail with its warning today that Q4 margins may disappoint.
Analysts with the investment firm cite data showing mall traffic was off 9% for the first two weeks of December and think that even a late-month pickup in sales won't be enough to rescue the quarter.
The consistent read on the sector has been that discounters (DG, FIVE, DLTR, FDO), e-commerce retailers (AMZN, OSTK, EBAY, NILE, BIDZ, SFLY), and membership warehouses (COST, PSMT, WMT) may have held up the best as consumers either traded down or shopped via devices.
PayPal (EBAY) has acquired StackMob, owner of a platform that gives developers APIs, custom code, hosting services, and other tools for creating mobile apps. Terms are undisclosed.
PayPal, which has been introducing new features and services for its mobile apps at a heady pace, says StackMob's team will help it "move even faster in creating, testing and deploying products that aim to transform payments."
News of the acquisition comes on the heels of Amazon's purchase of mobile point-of-sale platform provider Gopago.
ShopperTrak reports retail sales fell 0.8% Y/Y last week on traffic that was almost 20% thinner as the shoppers that did venture out were all business.
The retail-watching group says the wintry weather mix was a big factor and predicts a decent snap back in traffic this week.
The opposite effect could be in play with Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY -0.9%). The e-commerce tracking data for the two companies continues to dazzle as the typical post-Cyber Monday lull has been avoided. If there is a minor dip, analysts think it could be this week with decelerating Y/Y sales growth from the pair's dizzying pace.
Amazon (AMZN -0.3%) has acquired Gopago, a startup that has developed a smartphone/tablet-based point-of-sale platform for retailers. Among other things, the platform allows consumers to pre-pay for goods via Android/iOS apps.
TechCrunch notes media reports don't make it clear if Gopago's team will be joining Amazon. On the other hand, a co-founder does say Amazon will use Gopago's technology for an "ambitious" new project.
Plenty of companies are already targeting the mobile POS software/services market. While mobile payments juggernaut Square (reportedly eying a 2014 IPO) has seen the most success, PayPal (EBAY +0.1%) is also moving aggressively in this space, and recently added support for swipe-free Bluetooth payments. Other players include Intuit, Groupon, and VeriFone.
Amazon's online/mobile payments ambitions appear to be expanding: Two months ago, the company launched a fully-fledged PayPal rival that's available to anyone with an Amazon account. PayPal, meanwhile, recently bought rival Braintree.
Analysts don't expect the fierce winter snowstorm that struck a wide swath of the Northeast and Midwest to significantly impact overall holiday sales, although a pickup in e-commerce channels could be seen. The trend sets up well for Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), FedEx (FDX), and UPS (UPS).
Retailers focused on winter gear and machinery such as Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), Tractor Supply (TSCO), Home Depot (HD), and Lowe's (LOW) could also see some extra snow-related sales, note analysts.
Airlines have canceled over 1,000 flights, while freight companies and online retailers have delayed deliveries, due to severe winter weather across the U.S., particularly in the south.
American Airlines (AAMRQ, LCC) has been especially affected after more than 400 flights from Dallas/Fort Worth, American's largest hub, were scrapped.
FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS) have also felt the impact of the weather, while eBay (EBAY) has warned of shipment delays.
Meanwhile, ice storms have cut power to over 200,000 homes from Texas to Tennessee.
More freezing weather is predicted for tomorrow.
It's likely to take a while for the economic cost of the storm to be calculated. Insurer Aon (AON) reckons that the losses from the tornadoes and thunderstorms that hit the U.S. last month will top $1B. Allstate (ALL) may take a large hit after towns in Illinois, where it is the second-biggest insurer, were among those to feel the full wrath of the storms.