Exclusive interview on the deal of a lifetime – Banking Circle on their acquisition by EQT

Tuesday 17 July 2018 13:39 CET | Interview

EQT has entered into an agreement to acquire Banking Circle from Saxo Bank for USD 300 million, supporting the rapid growth of Banking Circle and broadening its scope

We are speaking with Anders la Cour, CEO of Banking Circle, about the acquisition.

Could you please elaborate on how the acquisition by EQT will support the growth strategy of Banking Circle? What new product propositions will Banking Circle develop (and in which geographies) in partnership with EQT?

Saxo Bank has been a very valuable partner in the last five years, they helped us get off the ground and build a strong network of clients. To further develop, however, we needed to identify a partner that could support us during the next phase. For that, EQT is perfect because they come with an enormous amount of resources and a global network of industry alliances leveraging knowledge through active acquisitions. The timing for Banking Circle to partner with EQT is also perfect because we are now at the stage of looking for continuous growth, both in terms of geography and portfolio. Partnering with EQT puts us in a strong position with a clear focus for our goals for the next few years.

Our aim is to grow our business in Asia and the US over the next couple of years, extending from Europe where we have been focused to date. We will keep selling our core services and products, i.e. our payments and accounting infrastructure combined with foreign exchange services. And we will move into new service areas. For example we launched our SME lending solution in June 2018. It is focused on Europe in the beginning, but over time will then increase to other geographies.

How will EQT leverage the cross-border payments capabilities of Banking Circle within their portfolio of companies and future acquisitions?

Whilst cross-selling would be nice, this partnership is not about that. We have a clear plan for how to grow our business within the verticals that we target.

In March 2018, Banking Circle issued a white paper on the opportunities and challenges facing Asian businesses. What opportunities do you see in cross-border payments in this region?

It is one of the regions in the world with the highest potential and we plan to invest to capitalise on this opportunity. It is growing at a tremendous rate, the consumer is advanced, they are also fragmented in terms of the use of credit cards and mobile payments. We see this as an opportunity to offer our financial utilities, adding value to the payments propositions for players in this market.

What will be the nature of the relationship between Saxo Bank and Banking Circle after the acquisition by EQT?

We have had a strong partnership with Saxo Bank for the last 5 years, and the great thing about the Saxo Bank model is that it specialises in partnerships where it provides the services to financial tech entities. That part of Saxo Bank will continue to support us in terms of products and capabilities and it will remain a strong and important partner going forward.

Is the acquisition going to pave the way for partnerships with other banks and expansion to new markets?

Yes, definitely. We are very keen to increase the number of banks in our network and gain the financial muscle that we haven’t previously had. We are interested in opening in Asia, but also in the US. Our goal is to move Banking Circle into a position of a global utility, where we can create the most value for our clients.

After this acquisition, what is going to happen with the Banking Circle team? Will it remain the same?

The management team will stay the same. And as we grow, we will hire new people, to extend our resources and skills.

About Anders la Cour

Anders la Cour is Chief Executive Officer at Banking Circle. He used his experience in legal M&A, as well as in venture capital, coupled with a strong commercial acumen and entrepreneurial mindset, to co-found Saxo Payments in 2013, with backing from Saxo Bank. He is also a board member of YouLend and an adviser to other financial technology businesses. Anders was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2016 Emerging Payments Awards, in recognition of his leadership in bringing to market the innovative Banking Circle solution to tackle the cost and time challenges of cross-border payments. He was appointed to the Emerging Payments Association Advisory Board at the end of 2016.

About Banking Circle

Innovative global scale Financial Utility, Banking Circle is underpinning the service proposition of FinTechs, PSPs, FX businesses and banks. Members of the Banking Circle can offer banking services to their customers – enhancing their own proposition – and helping merchants to trade globally, at low cost and with efficiency.

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Keywords: Banking Circle, Anders la Cour, EQT, acquisition, interview, payments , fintech, cross-border payments
Countries: World