Singapore-based private investment group Shanda Group on Monday said it had bought an 11.7% stake in Lending Club (LC), saying the online lender’s battered stock was an attractive investment.
Lending Club shares were up 11.3% at $4.44 in midday trading. The stock had fallen more than 40% since the May 9 announcement of Chief Executive Officer Renaud Laplanche’s resignation after an internal investigation found the San Francisco-based company had knowingly sold an investor $22 million of loans the investor did not want.
Shanda Group, headed by billionaire Chinese citizen Chen Tianqiao, has taken the stake in the company at a time when it also is trying to attract fresh investment following a slowdown in growth in loan originations.
“We have been in discussions with Shanda regarding their investment, and we look forward to a continued dialog with them,” a LendingClub spokesman said.
LendingClub is by far the largest of the so-called marketplace lenders, which sell their consumer and small-business loans on to investors.
Shanda Asset Management Holdings Ltd, one of Shanda Group’s affiliates, said in a regulatory filing that it bought LendingClub shares because “they represented an attractive investment opportunity.”
Shanda Group bought a total of about 29 million Lending Club shares for $148.7 million. It also has call options to buy 15.7 million shares for $11.2 million.
The investment comes as China’s government said it approved a plan earlier this month to clean up the country’s online financial sector, including the activities of marketplace lenders, Reuters previously reported..
In February, Chinese authorities arrested 21 officials of Ezubao, one of China’s biggest lending platforms, when it was discovered that the company had funded a Ponzi scheme to support a lavish lifestyle for company executives.