The marriage between Fidor and Groupe BPCE looks set for a quick divorce amid talk of a culture clash and the French lender's decision not to roll out the German digital challenger in its home market.
Founded in Germany in 2009 by its CEO Matthias Kröner, Fidor was one of the first breed of new digital banks, establishing a reputation in European 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 the summer of 2016, eager to buy some technological savviness for its own digital transformation, the 200-year-old BPCE agreed to pay around EUR140 million for Fidor.
At the time, Kröner said: "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."
However, two years on, Kröner has changed his tune, telling Germany's Faz last month that there is a "cultural conflict" between his fintech upstart and the established behemoth.
For its part, BPCE had to inject another EUR89 million into Fidor last year and in its recent quarterly filings confirmed that it has decided not roll out Fidor in France, instead pumping all of its digital investments into its existing brands.
According to Le Echos, BPCE is considering a sale. This could see the whole of Fidor sold off, or just the digital white-label technology platform which is the backbone behind Telefónica's new O2 Banking mobile-only bank account.
One possible buyer floated by FAZ is solarisBank, the German banking-as-a-service startup.
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