AP NEWS

Synchrony expands partnership with retailing powerhouse

December 31, 2018

STAMFORD — Consumer-financial services firm Synchrony is expanding its partnership with retailing powerhouse Qurate Retail Group.

Next August, Synchrony will become the new provider of private-label credit cards for QRG’s HSN home-shopping channel.

The expanded alliance would take advantage of Synchrony’s marketing, credit and data strengths, Synchrony officials said. The companies have also agreed to extend for several more years similar arrangements for two other QRG brands: multi-platform retailer QVC and e-commerce platform Zulily.

“Qurate Retail Group has defined a new generation of shopping that combines commerce, content, and multi-platform engagement for millions of customers,” Tom Quindlen, Synchrony’s executive vice president and CEO of retail cards, said in a statement. “We continue to invest in data analytics and mobile technologies to help our partners meet customers’ shopping needs wherever they are — online, in-store, through their TV and more.”

Synchrony and QVC have worked together since 2005. Zulily has used Synchrony’s services since 2017.

QRG comprises seven retail brands, reaching approximately 370 million homes worldwide, through 16 television networks and websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, print catalogs and brick-and-mortar locations.

The new deal would help Synchrony offset the loss next July of a $10 billion Walmart credit portfolio. Walmart announced last July that Capital One would become its new credit-card provider.

In November, Walmart sued Synchrony for at least $800 million. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailing giant alleges that Synchrony broke an “implied covenant” that it would not hurt Walmart’s ability “to receive the fruits of the contract.”

Synchrony responded by calling the complaint “baseless” and said Walmart was “trying to avoid paying the fair-market value as required by our contract.”

With the Walmart alliance set to end in a few months, Synchrony has said it would consider two options. It could sell the Walmart portfolio to Capital One, which could generate about $2.5 billion for a possible share-buyback program. Alternatively, it could convert qualifying Walmart accounts to general-purpose credit cards.

Synchrony said in 2018 it clinched more than 35 new credit partnerships and extended 50 programs across a number of sectors.

In its most-significant deal of 2019, Synchrony extended its 14-year co-branded credit card program partnership with online-payments powerhouse PayPal. Synchrony will serve as the exclusive U.S issuer of PayPal Credit’s online consumer-financing program through 2028, supporting its goal of becoming a major digital-payments player.

pschott@scni.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott