The U.K. alternative lending market just saw a bit of consolidation. Reports on Tuesday (Dec. 8) revealed U.K. peer-to-peer small business lending portal ThinCats has been acquired by ESF Capital.
The price tag wasn’t revealed, but ESF will take on a 73.4 percent stake in the company. Already, ESF was working with ThinCats; earlier this year the firm committed to providing up to $75 million in capital to be lent out through the ThinCats portal. Reports said that EFS will continue to provide underwriting and capital through ThinCats as it continues growth.
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At present, ThinCats has reportedly lent more than $210 million to SMEs and has reported a more than 65 percent year-to-date growth rate.
"ThinCats sits on unique foundations,” stated John Mould, ESF Capital CEO and new ThinCats CEO. “It has the largest average loan size in the sector and has been first to market with a number of innovative financial products. The injection of capital and expertise we are bringing to the platform from ESF will focus on strengthening these foundations, pushing loan sizes higher and developing both products and platform to attract a wide range of investors."
Mould has assumed his leadership position at ThinCats from former CEO Kevin Caley, who will take up a post as chairman of the company.
Reports said the ThinCats takeover is the U.K.’s first major P2P small business lender takeover.
“The peer-to-peer lending industry is truly coming of age,” Mould added, “and today one of the longest of tooth gets a little sharper.”
ThinCats operates elsewhere, with a unit in Australia that has seen significant growth this year. The company reported expansion in its market down under earlier this year through adding more borrower referral sources and more lenders to its platform.