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January 25, 2022

JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to take a 49% stake in Greek payments firm Viva Wallet, the latest in the bank’s streak of acquisitions and investments as it seeks to stay ahead of the competition.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals, and financial terms weren’t disclosed. Bloomberg reported in November that JPMorgan was weighing a potential investment in Viva Wallet, and that at the time Viva Wallet was considering seeking a valuation of at least 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion).

“The European payments landscape is fragmented yet large in terms of opportunity, with more than 17 million merchants ready to implement scalable payments solutions,” Takis Georgakopoulos, JPMorgan’s global head of payments, said Tuesday in a statement. “This is a big focus area for added growth.”

The announcement marks JPMorgan’s first deal in 2022, on the heels of its most prolific year for buying and taking stakes in smaller firms since at least the financial crisis. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has described a landscape full of competitive threats and said he’ll spend whatever it takes to stay ahead. That point was punctuated earlier this month by the firm’s higher expense guidance for this year.

Athens-based Viva Wallet focuses on serving small and medium-sized businesses in 23 European countries. Its services include bill pay, virtual debit card issuance and merchant cash advance.

JPMorgan’s payments business is focused on growing its merchant-acquiring capabilities in Europe. The stake in Viva Wallet “will set the stage to develop future international products and services across European” small and medium-sized businesses, according to the release.

Jefferies Financial Group advised Viva Wallet on the sale, according to the statement.

SOURCE: Bloomberg
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