JP Morgan is on the hunt for SME activity in Europe with plans to acquire an ownership stake of around 49% in payments company Viva Wallet.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but sources close to the deal told Reuters that Viva Wallet is valued at more than $2 billion (£1.5 billion).
Viva Wallet’s HQ is in Athens, but the “neobank” says it provides localised payment and credit services to businesses across 23 European countries. Its UK office is located in Milton Keynes.
Takis Georgakopoulos, Global Head of JP Morgan Payments, states: “The European payments landscape is fragmented yet large in terms of opportunity, with more than 17 million merchants ready to implement scalable payments solutions and this is a big focus area for added growth for JP Morgan Payments in the future.”
Founded in 2000, Viva Wallet has built a proprietary, cloud-based payments platform for merchants. It includes tap to device technology, merchant cash advance, bill pay, expense management, virtual debit card issuance, cash disbursement, gift cards and loyalty.
JP Morgan’s Payments business calls the investment in Viva Wallet a “natural fit”. Its Payments business combines corporate treasury services, trade finance, card and merchant services capabilities. The business recently unveiled its brand for SME payments, Chase Payment Solutions, in the US.
The investment comes on the heels of JP Morgan’s recent announcement to enter into a partnership with Volkswagen Financial Services, with plans to acquire a controlling interest of close to 75% in the car manufacturer’s payments platform, subject to regulatory approvals.
Viva Wallet has also been busy. In late December the fintech firm acquired 33.5% of N7 Mobile, a Polish software development company, for an undisclosed sum.
In Q2 last year, Viva Wallet secured additional financing of $80 million (£59 million) from several technology and financial services investors, including Tencent and Breyer Capital, as a precursor to its Series D Round of investment planned for Q4 in 2022.
According to Crunchbase, Viva Wallet has raised a total of $189.5 million (£141 million) in funding to date.