Santander acquires half of Ebury for £350m

Banco Santander has announced a £350 million strategic investment in Ebury, the trade and foreign exchange facilitator for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).

The investment will strengthen its Global Trade Services offering and improve Santander’s SME proposition across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Under the terms of the transaction, Santander will acquire 50.1 per cent of Ebury for £350 million, of which £70 million will be new primary equity to support Ebury’s plans to enter new markets in Latin America and Asia.

UK-based Ebury operates on a worldwide distribution platform underpinned by a data-driven business model. The partnership will enable Ebury to improve its value proposition, with existing investors - including co-founders and management - reinvesting in the transaction. The current management team will also remain in charge.

Only last month, Ebury announced its first acquisition, buying international payroll payments provider Frontierpay for an undisclosed sum.

Ana Botín, group executive chairman of Banco Santander, 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.”

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

Ebury employs 900 staff across 22 offices in 19 countries, and has raised over $134 million since inception in 2009. In 2018, the company processed £16.7 billion in payments for its 43,000 clients.

A statement suggested that Ebury will be able to leverage Santander’s capabilities, brand and correspondent bank network to establish new bank partnerships, while Santander will take advantage of the growth opportunity in SMEs cross-border transactions.

Sergio Rial, Santander Brasil’s chief executive and executive sponsor of Santander’s Global Trade Services business, will join Ebury’s board as chairman.

Ebury will continue operating as an independent unit, supported by Santander and developing the companies it has invested in, such as Getnet, the bank’s Brazilian subsidiary.

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