JPMO considers buying Greek digital lender Viva Wallet

JPMO considers buying Greek digital lender Viva Wallet

People familiar with the matter said that JPMorgan Chase Co. is considering investing in Greek digital banking and payments firm Viva Wallet as it tries to bring more financial disruptors under its roof.

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The people who asked not to be identified said that the U.S. banking giant is considering buying or partnering with Viva Wallet. The people said that the Greek company is working with an adviser to explore strategic options.

One person said that Viva Wallet is considering a valuation of 1.5 billion euros $1.7 billion in any transaction. The people said there was no certainty that JPMorgan would proceed with a deal, and other suitors could emerge.

Representatives for JPMorgan and Viva Wallet didn't want to make a statement.

Viva Wallet serves customers across 23 European countries with services including business accounts, digital debit cards, small business payment solutions and credit card acceptance. In the U.K. it is one of the certified payment companies for London's iconic black cabs.

The company's revenue went up 29% last year to 44 million euros, according to financial statements posted on its website. Viva Wallet acquired Greek digital lender Praxia Bank from former Barclays Plc chief Bob Diamond's investment firm Atlas Merchant Capital last year.

Banks have snapped up many of the most promising financial technology startups as they look to stay competitive. Viva Wallet raised $80 million from investors including Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd., the European Bank for Reconstruction Development and Breyer Capital in April.

Any deal for JPMorgan would continue a rich streak of fintech tie-ups. The bank is trying to fend off future rivals by pushing hard to buy in the sector. It has made 24 acquisitions or so-called strategic investments this year in a range of areas, many of which have gone unnoticed because they were too small or niche.

In June, JPMorgan agreed to buy U.K. digital wealth manager Nutmeg Saving Investment for close to 700 million pounds $932 million to expand its international retail business. It spent more than $1 billion to acquire a 40% stake in Brazilian digital bank C6, according to Bloomberg News.

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