British payday lender Wonga is in talks to buy On Deck Capital, a US provider of loans to small businesses, for up to $250 million, according to Bloomberg.
Founded in 2007, On Deck - which employees 140 people and has lent more than $300 million - uses technology to identify credit-worthy businesses that may struggle to get capital from banks and offer them loans of up to $150,000.
Wonga is in "advanced" discussions with the firm as it looks to gain a foothold in the North American market and strengthen its business lending offering, says Bloomberg, citing sources.
Wonga has grown quickly over the last few years and with a valuation approaching $1 billion is thought to be considering a float on the New York Stock Exchange next year.
However, it is also one the UK's most controversial companies, facing scrutiny from regulators and the government worried about the practices of the payday lending industry.
Earlier this month, the lender was forced to apologise to one of its fiercest critics, MP Stella Creasy, after it emerged that an employee was conducting a savage, anonymous Twitter campaign against her.