Apple said to have held talks with Square regarding acquisition


Before raising its latest $100 million in funding, Square was in talks with Apple regarding a possible acquisition, reports TechCrunch this afternoon. The outlet says that the two companies held discussions briefly, but the conversation quickly ended when their final numbers didn’t match up.

Apparently Apple was willing to pay around $3 billion for the mobile payments company, about 30% over its value. TechCrunch even claims that the Cupertino firm showed Square hardware it was working on that would compete directly with its point-of-sale tools, but the company declined.

Formed in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and other Silicon Valley alum, Square is a mobile payments company. It’s perhaps best known for its Square Reader—an inexpensive card scanner that plugs into virtually any smartphone and makes accepting credit card payments very simple.

It’s not hard to see why Apple was interested in the startup. Square is in charge of designing both its hardware and software, and takes a user experience-first approach to both tasks. Not to mention, Apple recently entered the mobile payments space itself, with the newly-announced Apple Pay.

The iPad-maker has had quite the thirst for big-league buyouts in recent months. Following its company-high $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics over the summer, Apple is said to be in the late stages of discussions to buy the intimate social networking service Path, for an undisclosed amount.


Update: well-connected blogger Jim Dalrymple of The Loop followed up TechCrunch’s scoop with a “nope.” Dalrymple has an excellent track record in Apple intel, and typically confirms or denies rumors after speaking with his sources with one-word responses—usually “yep” or “nope.”