I'm cautiously optimistic for a good outcome for the Plaid folks here: last round was two years ago for $250M. Could they have been suffering $10M/month losses and are running out of money? Could be.
No offense to Visa, but I don't think of them as the most innovative organization or one that is a sign of a "good outcome" for a company getting acquired. I can't think of a good exit to Visa, but I am open to being wrong on that one.
Disclosures: worked at Stripe; dealt altogether more than I would have liked with Visa. Have no knowledge of Plaid's particulars.
Edit: Visa and Mastercard were strategic investors in the C round. Curious what the competitive dynamics were that led to Visa grabbing the acquisition instead of MC. https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/16/plaid-announces-strategic-...
Visa is a $434B company. I guess "innovative" is subjective but their valuation trajectory has looked like a high growth tech co over the past 5 years.
But then the other part of me says that I clearly have no clue what I'm talking about, there's basically no chance they could stay relevant this long without being on top of it at some meaningful level. And potential quasi monopoly status doesn't quite capture it. So much of finance has been disrupted by technology, you figure if there's finance companies who wasn't disrupted, it must be because they are the technology.
It seems their main software division is in India and in the US it's mostly sales, servers, mobile, and POS support, suggesting that the company is focused on the bottom line and probably could be disrupted. For example Bitcoin is getting more and more prevalent. But it's going to take a while before supporting a new payment network is as easy as an over-the-air software update. And the recent trend in "disruption" is acquihires as seen here.
Apple couldn't even do it with their in-house credit card.
Governments are eventually going to see "a foreign company owning our major payment networks" as a national security and sovereignity risk, especially if we end up in a multi-major-power world. They'll also eventually covet the data and the ability to disable "inconvenient" business. You might see it take the form of a government-mandated account (would Visa/Mastercard have taken off at the same angle if universal, instant direct debits were available in the US?), or just providing a glidepath for local commercial alternatives. Look at what Russia is doing with the Mir card.
It's not Stripe or Airbnb level growth, however.
my point is that it's clearly not a dying dinosaur of a company. if anything, Visa has too much power in our financial system as more transactions are non-cash and non-ACH based.
FB and GOOG own a part of the internet traffic. Almost all of the worlds internet payments goes through VisaNet and is the fundamental processor of these internet payments and have been profitable for years.
Quite possibly got overbid in that case, which would be a good exit. MC is no slouch in this space.