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PayPal CEO Defends Long-Term Strategy After Sales Miss

PayPal Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman defended his strategy of inking deals with big merchants and smartphone applications and offering free peer-to-peer payments as investors sent shares down on concerns the efforts are hurting the company’s quarterly profit.

PayPal, in its first quarter as a stand-alone company separate from EBay Inc., said it added 4 million accounts to reach 173 million users. Its total payments volume gained 20 percent to $69.7 billion from a year earlier.

But investors reacted to the company’s declining take rate, a measure of how much money PayPal keeps from each payment made on its platform. That metric fell to 3.24 percent in the third quarter from 3.39 percent a year earlier, the company reported Wednesday in a statement, and shares dropped as much as 7.8 percent in extended trading.

The goal of the July split with EBay was to make sure that each company could focus on their main businesses. EBay last week reported quarterly profit and sales that topped analysts’ estimates and raised its outlook, sending shares up the most in 10 years.

Greater Competiton

PayPal’s strategy is to attract more customers and merchants and offer them expanded services as competition in the payments industry intensifies with startups Square Inc. and Stripe Inc. as well has Apple Inc. and Google Inc. who are trying to create digital wallets. Even JPMorgan...