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Australia's Zip teams up with eBay for flexible credit to businesses; shares soar

FILE PHOTO: The German headquarters of eBay is pictured at Europarc Dreilinden business park south of Berlin in Kleinmachnow

(Reuters) - Australia's Zip Co Ltd <Z1P.AX> on Wednesday said it had partnered with eBay Inc <EBAY.O> to offer flexible credit to small- and medium-sized businesses on the e-commerce platform, sending its shares to a record high in early trade.

The deal marks a foray into lending to businesses for the buy-now-pay-later firm, which along with peers such as Afterpay <APT.AX>, is known for offering small interest-free instalment loans to individual shoppers and making money by charging merchants a commission.

An accelerated shift to online shopping due to the coronavirus crisis and changing trends among young shoppers has seen the popularity of alternative credit firms soar and helped their share price multiply.

Zip said the partnership with eBay Australia marked the launch of its 'Zip Business' platform, which it will fund through a A$100 million ($72 million) debt facility with U.S. private equity firm Victory Park Capital Advisors.

Zip shares jumped nearly 10% to an all-time high of A$8.24 and outperformed the benchmark S&P/ASX200 <.AXJO> which declined 0.6% by 0015 GMT.

($1 = 1.3895 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)