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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Square has agreed to acquire Afterpay, an Australian company in the "buy now, pay later" (BNPL) category, for $29 billion.

Why it matters: This is Square's second big-ticket acquisition this year (after Tidal), showing that it's not shy when it comes to bold moves to expand its business lines.

Details: Square is paying a premium of about 30% over Afterpay's closing price on Friday, though still below the company’s all-time high of A$160 per share. Also: Multiple sources tell Axios' Dan Primack that Square didn't reach out to Affirm, another buzzy BNPL company.

The bottom line: "'There's a lot of growth occurring in this shift away from credit to debit, and it's due to the fact that we've flipped the model on its head,'" Afterpay co-founder Nick Molnar told the NY Times. "The banks’ credit model 'doesn't work,' he said. 'The incentive is the opposite of how we built our product, which is to charge the retailer a small fee instead of making our money from the consumer.'"—Lauren Hirsch, NYT

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Aug 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

Buy now, pay later is coming to a retailer near you

Expand chart
Data: FIS Global; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is one of the hottest parts of fintech, built on the idea that a simple pay-in-installments plan doesn't really feel like a loan — especially when it comes with 0% interest.

The big picture: Now that idea has driven Square to acquire Australia-based BNPL giant Afterpay for about $32 billion in stock, based on where its share price closed on Monday.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
24 mins ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.