French Digital Bank Qonto to Acquire Penta


Qonto, the French digital bank for small businesses and freelancers, on Friday (July 22) announced its intent to acquire German rival Penta. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The deal, which is expected to close in the coming weeks, represents a “natural next step” in Qonto’s long-term ambition to become the finance solution of choice for 1 million clients by 2025, the French FinTech said in a statement.

The announcement said Penta “is the leading German digital business finance solution” for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and freelancers.

“The acquisition of Penta will enable Qonto to become the market leader in Germany — the largest European SME banking market — and to further accelerate profitable growth across all markets,” the bank said in the announcement.

In July 2018, Qonto obtained a license from French authorities to become a payment institution. And as Qonto Co-founder Alexandre Prot told PYMNTS, the neobank doesn’t intend to apply for a full banking license anytime soon.

“We’re really focused on serving our clients and prioritizing what makes the most sense for our next step, and that optimal next step is still to leverage our payment institution license to bring more services to our clients,” he explained, adding that moving to a different license is not necessarily helpful or of any additional value to clients.

Watch the interview: French Neobank Qonto Targets SMBs, Burgeoning Pool of Freelancers

He also highlighted the capital requirements and stringent conditions required to qualify for a banking license as another element to keep in mind and more reason why the firm has decided it’s best to allocate its resources elsewhere for now.

That being said, with the latest acquisition, Qonto will be able to leverage the partnership that Penta has forged with Solarisbank AG to broaden its range of financial services. Currently, Penta operates under Solaris AG’s banking license.

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