Spanish commercial bank and financial services company Banco Santander will acquire a 50.1% stake in UK fintech Ebury, which provides trade and foreign exchange services to small and medium-sized companies, for £350m (€400m).
The investment is part of Santander’s strategy to accelerate growth through new ventures and strengthen its global trade services.
With operations in 19 countries and 140 currencies, Ebury has recorded a 40% average annual revenue growth in the last three years.
Through the majority stake, Santander plans to consolidate its position as the bank of choice for SMEs trading or those intending to trade internationally, across Europe and the Americas. The bank plans to offer services in Asia later.
Under the terms of the transaction, £70m of the £350m will be new primary equity, which will be used to support Ebury in entering new markets in Latin America and Asia.
Also, Ebury’s existing investors will reinvest in the transaction. The current management team will continue to lead Ebury’s expansion.
Ebury operates a unique technology platform powered by a data-driven business model, and the partnership with Santander is expected to enable the UK fintech to improve its value proposition.
The Spanish bank caters to over four million SMEs worldwide, of which more than 200,000 are involved in international business.
Banco Santander group executive chairman Ana Botín 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.”
Ebury will continue operations as an independent unit, supported by Santander. The UK fintech intends to use Santander’s capabilities, brand and correspondent bank network to forge new bank partnerships, while Santander expects to benefit from the growth opportunity in SME cross-border transactions.
Ebury co-founders Juan Lobato and Salvador García said: “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 while keeping our entrepreneurial culture.”