Apr 8, 2022
Sanctioned Russian Billionaires Look to Exit Two U.K. Fintechs
Two U.K. fintech companies are exploring sale options after sanctions on their Russian billionaire backers have left them struggling to find funding.
FIBR Tech Ltd., an online lender to businesses, and ANNA Money, which offers business accounts and administrative services, began searches for buyers in recent weeks after indirect shareholders including Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven were hit by sanctions.
The move to sell the two firms is part of an effort to find new sources of capital for the lenders. The action mirrors other deals rippling through the financial world as a number of Russians, either already hit by sanctions or at risk of getting drawn into the net, look to sell some assets.
“We as a company - FIBR Tech Ltd. - can confirm that we have engaged FRP Advisory to advise in relation to strategic and restructuring options for FIBR,” Chief Executive Officer Bivu Das said in a statement.
“The founders of ANNA are currently in the process of negotiating a buy-out,” a spokesperson for ANNA said in a statement. “One of the conditions precedent for such a transaction is that it should be compliant with U.K. and EU sanctions law. We cannot comment further until it is completed.”
The two businesses are owned by ABH Holdings, a Luxembourg-based company whose owners have included Fridman, Aven and also German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev. All four have been sanctioned.
ABH, which hasn’t been sanctioned, also owns Alfa-Bank, the Moscow-based lender that Fridman founded more two decades ago and helped to turn into one of Russia’s biggest with assets totaling more than $60 billion. Alfa has been sanctioned in multiple jurisdictions.
Advisers to ANNA Money are seeking at least 30 million pounds ($39 million) for the business which was set up 2017, according to a person familiar with the process. The asking price for FIBR’s U.K. unit isn’t known.
FIBR also has a separate European arm, which has its headquarters and a banking license in Holland. The business overall lent over 20 million euros ($22 million) to over 175 small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.K. and Netherlands, according to an October AltFi article.
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