Square Adds $8 Billion in Value With Help From M&A, Bitcoin

(Bloomberg) -- Shares of Square Inc., which more than doubled in value last year, are still on a roll and show no sign of slowing down.

The payments firm’s stock has surged almost 50 percent, adding about $8 billion in market value, since it rolled out Bitcoin trading in November for customers of its Cash App, which lets users transfer money to friends and family. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey has repeatedly shared his enthusiasm for digital currencies, saying earlier this month that “the internet deserves a native currency.”

But San Francisco-based Square has gained on more than optimism for cryptocurrencies. The shares have rallied 25 percent since the company said in April it was buying website-builder Weebly for $365 million, the firm’s biggest-ever acquisition. The deal is a key step in Square’s strategy to build its online and e-commerce offerings for small and medium-size businesses. It also gives Square another recurring revenue stream and base of new customers.

The stock closed Thursday at $58.25, a new record high, shortly before the company raised its annual revenue forecast to reflect the impact of the Weebly transaction.

Dorsey’s crypto fever and appetite for deals have contributed to Square’s surge, but a steady stream of positive earnings surprises has also fueled bullish sentiment. The most recently reported quarter marked the 10th consecutive period that the firm topped analysts’ sales projections.

Square’s gross payment volume could reach $409 billion in 2026, or 4.1 percent of total U.S. payment volume, RBC Capital Markets analyst Daniel Perlin predicted in a May 22 note to clients.

“Square’s integrated hardware, software and services solutions position the company to benefit from ongoing card acceptance penetration at smaller merchants while gaining share against existing solutions that lag from a technological or efficiency-basis,” wrote Perlin, who has the equivalent of a buy rating on the stock.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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