Santander pays £350m for majority stake in fintech firm Ebury

Santander has bought a majority stake in a UK fintech firm for £350 million as it looks to boost growth through new ventures.

The Spanish banking group has purchased the 50.1% stake in Ebury as part of its digital-focused expansion plan.

Ebury provides small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with foreign exchange services, cash management and trade finance.

The company, which was founded in 2009, has rapidly grown in recent years and posted revenues of £43.7 million for the 12 months to April 2018 in its last full set of accounts.

Santander said that £70 million in equity from the deal will be used to support Ebury’s plans to expand into new markets such as Latin America and Asia.

Ebury currently trades in 19 countries and 140 currencies and has generated average annual revenue growth of 40% in the last three years, it said.

Santander said Ebury’s existing investors, including its founders, will reinvest in the transaction and the current management team will remain in place.

Ana Botin, group executive chairman of Banco Santander, said: “SMEs are becoming increasingly global and Santander is the best-positioned bank to play a leading role to help them access global trade finance.

“By partnering with Ebury, Santander will deliver faster and more efficient products and services for SMEs, previously only accessible to larger corporates.”

Juan Lobato and Salvador Garcia, co-founders of Ebury, said: “Combining a big bank with nimble fintech means we can offer our clients the best of both worlds – they can benefit from our technology and high-quality service safe in the knowledge that they are counter-party to one of the world most important financial institutions.

“It is an exciting time for Ebury. We have just completed our first acquisition, and the new capital from Santander and our existing shareholders will allow us to invest in new ways to serve SMEs trading internationally and continue the growth in our business.”

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