JPMorgan agrees to acquire 49% stake in Greek fintech Viva Wallet


FILE PHOTO: A sign outside JP Morgan Chase & Co. offices is seen in New York City, U.S., March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

ATHENS (Reuters) - JPMorgan said on Tuesday it had agreed to acquire an around 49% stake in Athens-based payments fintech Viva Wallet, subject to regulatory approvals.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but sources close to the deal told Reuters Viva Wallet was valued at more than $2.0 billion.

JPMorgan's investment will top $1.15 billion, including a capital increase in Viva Wallet which will not dilute its founders' majority stake of 51.5%, said the sources, who declined to be named.

Cloud-based Viva Wallet, which operates in 23 countries across Europe, provides card acceptance services through its POS application, add-on Google play devices and advanced payment systems in online stores.

"We are very excited to make a strategic investment in Viva Wallet to support their vision to empower new growth and payments innovation targeted at European small and midsize businesses," JPMorgan's head of global payments Takis Georgakopoulos said in a statement.

He said the European payments sector is large in terms of opportunity, with more than 17 million merchants ready to implement payments systems that can be quickly ramped up.

The stake will be acquired from Viva Wallet's minority shareholders, including the Latsis family office, which holds about 13% of the firm, and British fund Hedosophia, with about 24%.

In 2020 Viva Wallet bought Greece's first digital challenger Praxia Bank, which was owned by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond and fellow Atlas Merchant Capital partner David Schamis, acquiring a banking licence.

In the same year it launched Apple Pay and Google Pay in 18 countries, offering clients digital business debit cards.

"Viva Wallet's mission is to change the way businesses pay and get paid in Europe with cutting edge technology," said Chief Executive Haris Karonis, co-founder of Viva Wallet.

Jefferies was Viva Wallet's sole financial adviser on the deal, with Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP the legal adviser.

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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