Corporate Financier’s Notes by Aivars Jurcans
Done! And Done
Robinhood, an online zero-commission stock-buying app, has raised USD 280 million in May 2020 from a group of investors including Sequoia Capital. The post-money valuation of USD 8.3 billion in higher that the USD 7.6 billion a year ago. Robinhood has added more than 3 million funded accounts in 2020, with 1 million of these opened in April.
Deals On The Table
Allianz, a German insurer, is said to be planning to divest as much as EUR 9 billion of life insurance assets in countries including Italy.
Assicurazioni Generali, an Italian insurer, is said to have decided to move ahead with the disposal of a French life insurance portfolio. The deal could potentially involve between EUR 1 billion and EUR 2 billion of assets.
Budapest Bank, another state-owned Hungarian lender, is said to be joining a strategic alliance of MKB Bank and Takarekbank, forming the country’s 2nd largest banking group with combined assets of USD 18.3 billion.
Liquidnet Holdings, an operator of private trading venues, is said to be exploring a sale that could value it at about USD 1 billion. Established in 1999 and based in New York, Liquidnet is known for operating the so-called “dark pools”, or private exchanges that are not accessible to the public.
Nexi and SIA, two Italian payment services providers, are said to be ”intensifying” talks about a potential merger. Such transaction would create one of Europe’s biggest payments providers.
Aareal Bank, a German real estate lender, is said to be inviting bids from financial investors for “a significant minority stake” in Aareon, its software business unit, to finance its future growth.
Not So Fast
Goldman Sachs has pushed back its planned launch of a digital wealth management platform and is slowing its hiring of advisers. The platform designed to offer online services to those with as little as USD 5,000 to invest is now scheduled to to go live in 2021.
UBI Banca, an Italian lender, has informed the market regulator that a proposed takeover offer by Intesa Sanpaolo should no longer be considered as valid. It believes that Covid-19 outbreak constitutes a “material adverse change”. The original bid valued UBI at EUR 4.9 billion; at today’s prices it would be worth around EUR 3 billion.
European banks are expected to suffer a hit of up to EUR 380 billion to their capital due to the economic disruption from coronavirus, but most should be able to absorb the losses, according to the European Banking Authority.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the 30 global systemically important banks distributed about USD 250 billion in dividends and share buybacks in 2019.
A Thought Worth Noting
“US-China tension has taken a back seat. A lack of major escalation means markets are more focused on central bank interventions, the levels of liquidity on offer, and economic recovery as countries emerge from lockdowns.”
Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer, Brooks Macdonald
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