Santander Takes Big Stake In UK FinTech

Santander, Ebury, cross-border payments, acquisition, SMEs, global, news

Spanish bank Banco Santander is acquiring just over 50 percent of the U.K. payments platform Ebury for £350 million ($453 million), Ebury announced in a press release on Monday (Nov. 4).

The Ebury payments platform gives small and medium-size companies the ability to trade internationally. The acquisition is scheduled to close in the first quarter of next year and is intended to help boost Santander’s global payments business. 

“Small and medium-sized businesses are a major engine of growth around the world, creating new jobs and contributing up to 60 percent of total employment and up to 40 percent of national GDP in emerging economies,” said Santander’s Executive Chairman Ana Botín.

“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,” she added.

Ebury operates in 19 countries and will expand in Latin America and Asia with Santander’s investment. The deal is expected to value Ebury at around £700 million.

The bank expects a return on invested capital higher than 25 percent in 2024. Ebury’s existing investors, including co-founders and management, will reinvest in the transaction, and the current management team will remain leading Ebury’s expansion.

“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 the counterparty to one of the world’s most important financial institutions,” Ebury co-founders Juan Lobato and Salvador García said jointly in the release.  

“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,” they said.

Ebury was the first FinTech to go live in 2018 with SWIFT’s global payments innovation. The move enabled Ebury’s clients to fast-track their international payments and to monitor and track their payments in real-time across the globe.