Mergers, acquisitions and takeovers.
2020 wasn’t just a fascinating year for funding, as we detailed earlier this week with the top European funding rounds raised more than $2.36bn, it was also an exciting time for M&A.
We saw deals aplenty during the year, some triggered by Covid-19 and others seemingly more strategic.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but covers most of the European fintech mergers, acquisitions and takeovers that crossed our desk:
The major acquisitions (major for a startup) included fellow Swedish fintech and credit decisioning firm Instantor for an undisclosed amount, Spanish account aggregation provider Eurobits for €15.5m and the account aggregation arm of UK open banking provider OpenWrks for an undisclosed amount.
Among the highest-profile deals of 2020 was Metro Bank’s acquisition of peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, a surprise £12m deal that saw one of the P2P industry’s oldest providers snapped up by the challenger bank.
Since the deal completed Metro Bank has offloaded RateSetter’s £167m property development loan portfolio to Shawbook Bank and continues to operate the lender as an origination channel for personal loans.
Speaking at AltFi’s Festival of Finance, Daniel Frumkin, CEO of Metro Bank, revealed that the whole deal to acquire RateSetter had been completed remotely due to Covid, with not a face-to-face meeting in sight!
News emerged early in 2020 that employee lender Neyber was in trouble, and the story was quickly resolved as rival lender Salary Finance emerged as the apparent acquirer although financial terms of the deal were never disclosed.
With the deal complete, Salary Finance continues to operate the Neyber brand, although behind the scenes the two companies have now combined.
Australian buy-now-pay-later firm Clearpay entered Spain, France and Italy with a splash in 2020 by acquiring local rival Pagantis for €50m.
Moreso than just the deal, Pagantis will form the core of Clearpay’s new European team, with CEO and founder Rolf Cederström leading its expansion in Southern Europe.
Clearpay has also rebranded Pagantis’ lending products under its own brand, quickly giving it scale in these new markets.
It wouldn’t be a year-in-review without Wirecard getting a mention.
It didn’t take long for Railsbank to go one step further, snapping up the UK assets of Wirecard Card Solutions Limited, which Railsbank boss Nigel Verdon told AltFi included “some very good people. There are some small bits of technology in there too. It has 12 years of experience in it. It's got a tonne of stuff in it that we'd have to put in a lot of hours to build.”
Last but by no means least, AltFi obviously completed its own transaction in 2020, with our acquisition by ETF Stream.
If you enjoyed our Fintech in the Age of Uncertainty webinar series, Digital Summit 2020 and Festival of Finance last year, or are looking forward to our Digital Banking Forum next month, then you’ve already seen some of the fruits of that deal!