British Fintech Platform Funding Circle Wants to Raise $386 Million in a London IPO
The “peer-to-peer” business-loan service Funding Circle has formally announced it is considering an initial public offering in London.
The eight-year-old British lending platform was earlier this year reported to have lined up Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and others to manage an IPO. Its existing investors include Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures and Accel Partners.
Funding Circle hopes to raise £300 million ($386.5 million) in the IPO. The flotation could value the firm at over £1.5 billion.
According to the Financial Times, the Danish billionaire Anders Povlsen is backing the IPO by agreeing to pick up at least 10% of Funding Circle’s shares if its valuation does not clear the £1.65 billion mark, and Bank of New York Mellon has signed on to lend $1 billion through the platform over the next few years.
Funding Circle’s platform allows investors to lend to small and medium-sized businesses that need the capital. Funding Circle processes the loan applications and the repayments to the investors. So far, it has handled around £5 billion in loans in the U.K., the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.
American rivals such as OnDeck and LendingClub have both significantly lost value after their own flotations, as Wall Street realized they faced greater risks than anticipated, in terms of regulation, competition and repayments. However, they have been reporting healthier revenues in recent months.
LendingClub has over the years been hit by multiple scandals, over executives’ tampering with loan documents and more recently the deception of consumers, by breaking its promise to avoid hidden fees.