All FinTech Acquisitions in 2018 Were Led by American & EU Banks

FinTech has shown strong growth in the last five years, but there were some questions as to why there is so little M&A in the industry. There was always an implicit assumption that the larger players like banks/financial institutions would be interested in acquiring some of the upcoming lending platforms, blockchain plays or even the payment apps. It was only in the latter half of 2010 that banks realized the emerging threat of FinTech companies. As FinTech startups started gaining momentum, a fear set among banking incumbents about the next Blockbuster moment. This spurred a rise of bank innovation teams to combat FinTech teams through partnerships, investments, and acquisitions.

MEDICI has done extensive research on how banks and other financial institutions have started to take a keen interest in buying and investing in startups. We have also tracked the latest in investment rounds by banks/FIs for the year. In this article, we will look into acquisitions in the FinTech industry. The FinTech space saw some uptick from 2017 and this year, we have seen 21 acquisition deals by major banks and FIs. This year, we witnessed a total acquisition deal value of more than 1.4B USD. This does not include deals where the acquisition values were undisclosed. In the 21 acquisition deals, we saw 10 banks acquiring 13 FinTechs; 2 asset management companies acquiring 2 FinTech; and 5 insurance companies acquiring 5 FinTechs. The highest disclosed funding round was 1.06B USD when Intermediate Capital Group, an asset management company acquired IRIS software, which specializes in accounting software.

Major banking players in the acquisition spree this year were Goldman Sachs, Banco Sabadell Group, and Societe Generale, which acquired more than two FinTech startups. In the insurance field, Munich Re acquired Relayr in a 300M USD deal to create new industrial business models using IoT.

Region-Wise Breakdown of FinTech Acquisitions

Acquiring banks/FIs are all headquartered in North America (48%) and Europe (52%). There was no major player from Asia making a FinTech acquisition. It’s interesting to note here that while most players are established in NA and the EU, there is an interest in acquiring FinTechs from the rest of the world. While NA and EU FinTechs have been the target of acquisitions at 43% and 48% respectively, startups from Asia and other regions are emerging as the preferred destination for acquiring FinTechs. The total breakdown of acquisitions by segment indicates that 38% of all acquisitions have been made in wealth management followed by B2B FinTech at 19%, lending at 14%, and payments at 10%.

The outright benefit for banks/FIs is through acquisition is that they get exclusive rights to the technology which could give them a competitive edge, rapid expansion into new markets, and a new customer base. By finding the right mix of acquisition and investments, banks and incumbents will be looking to up their FinTech game and come up with innovative solutions to address the evolving needs of their customers in this tech-first era of financial services.