EBay Inc. has signed a deal to acquire Zong, a provider of payments through direct mobile carrier billing, for $240 million in cash, the online marketplace site said Thursday.

This story first appeared in the July 8, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Zong, based in Menlo Park, Calif., will be combined with eBay’s PayPal global payment platform, which eBay says has 100 million active accounts in 190 markets and 25 currencies around the world. The goal is to help online merchants increase their conversion rate by expanding payment options for consumers without them having to leave the merchant’s site.

Zong leverages connections with more than 250 mobile network operators around the world, offering payment capabilities for purchases from mobile phones or computers. Users enter their mobile phone numbers and Zong clears the payment after verifying the number.

Scott Thompson, president of PayPal, said Zong will help the company reach “more than 4 billion people who have mobile phones, giving them more choice and security when they pay.”

“We look forward to extending our services to PayPal’s more than 9 million merchants around the world. And we’re committed to working with carriers and merchants to help them drive more sales across devices,” said David Marcus, chief executive officer of Zong.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

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