Nasdaq-listed mobile payments outfit Net1 has agreed a deal to acquire a 30% stake in Lichtenstein-based Bank Frick, providing a new reverse buy-out model for co-operation between fintech firms with technological know-how and incumbents seeking to develop new digital business strategies.
Net1 and Bank Frick already work closely together through the US firm's European e-commerce subsidiary Masterpayment. The stake sale, which has yet to be approved by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, gives Net1 an option to buy a majority share in the bank within two years of closing.
Serge Belamant, chariman and CEO of Net1 says the firm's issuing, acquiring, working capital finance and money remittance products and services are completely reliant on having a stable, long-term and strategic relationship with a fully licensed bank. "There is no better way to ensure alignment and longevity than by becoming a meaningful stakeholder in the bank,” he says.
The family-run bank, which employs 70 people, expects to step up its staff numbers under its joint partnership with Net1.
“Net1 possesses enormous digital know-how," says bank chairman Mario Frick. "With the expansion of Net1’s involvement, we will be able to strengthen our current business areas, drive forward our fintech strategy, develop new digital business models and enter new markets,and thanks to the scale effects this will bring, we can face the increasingly complex regulatory environment more effectively.”