US investment group Fidelity is in advance negotiations to lead a £200 million fundriaising round in UK challenger bank Starling, according to Sky News.
Sky understands that Fidelity is to leave $100 million on the table for its own stake in the firm, providing a shot in the arm for the neo-banking market in the face of growing scepticism about valuations across the sector.
Starling, which was founded in 2014, embarked on an attempt to raise £200m last autumn when Rothschild, the investment bank, was hired to canvass interest from investors.
City sources says that other blue-chip fundraisers are in discussions about taking part in the fundraising.
While other loss-making app-based banks have been facing discounted valuations, Starling booked it first profitable month in November last year and has ambitious plans to expand across Europe.
The bank currently has more than two million accounts, of which just over 300,000 are small business customers.