German digital challenger bank Fidor is being bought by France's Groupe BPCE. Fidor will continue to operate as an independent business following the acquisition, terms of which have not been disclosed.
Founded in Germany in 2009 by its CEO Matthias Kröner - who will stay in place post-acquisition - Munich-based Fidor now claims some 350,000 members and 120,000 customers in Germany and the UK, where it arrived last September. Plans are underway to launch in other European markets in the coming months.
One of the first breed of new digital banks, Fidor has established a reputation in European banking circles as a disruptive innovator, utilising a full range of social media, crowdfunding and P2P lending techniques and digital currency services to build its business.
In addition to its bank, Fidor has developed a digital white-label technology platform which is the backbone of behind Telefónica's new O2 Banking mobile-only bank account.
Both parts of the business will now operate under a new parent company, 'Fidor Holding Group', which will be led by Kröner (pictured), who is keeping a shareholding in the business.
Groupe BPCE says that the deal fits in with its strategic plan 'Another Way to Grow' and will contribute to the acceleration of the rollout of its digital strategy. In return, Fidor will have the backing of a major player as it continues to push its international growth.
Says Kröner: "In a world of increasing volatility it is important to be member of a strong group. We are excited to have such a well-established partner as BPCE in the financial world that recognises the need for a customer-centric and entrepreneurial approach to banking and innovation."
François Pérol, chairman, Groupe BPCE Management Board, adds: "This operation constitutes a key step in the acceleration of the digital transformation of our group. It further demonstrates our commitment to innovation, to develop a customer centric approach enabled by a digital banking technology and to be more involved in digital and mobile banking field."
The transaction is slated to close in the fourth quarter, subject to customary regulatory change of control approval from the European Central Bank and the BaFin and clearance from the German competition authority.