JPMorgan Chase & Co. is weighing a potential investment in Greek digital banking and payments firm Viva Wallet, as it seeks to bring more financial disruptors under its roof, people familiar with the matter said.
The U.S. banking giant is among parties considering buying or partnering with Viva Wallet, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The Greek company has been working with an adviser to explore strategic options, the people said.
Viva Wallet is considering seeking a valuation of at least 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in any transaction, one of the people said. There’s no certainty that JPMorgan will proceed with a deal, and other suitors could emerge, the people said.
Representatives for JPMorgan and Viva Wallet declined to comment.
Viva Wallet serves customers across 23 European countries with services including business accounts, digital debit cards, small business payment solutions and credit card acceptance. In the U.K., it’s one of the certified payment companies for London’s iconic black cabs.
The company’s revenue rose 29% last year to 44 million euros, according to financial statements posted on its website. Last year, Viva Wallet acquired Greek digital lender Praxia Bank from former Barclays Plc chief Bob Diamond’s investment firm Atlas Merchant Capital.
Investors continue to pour money into financial technology startups, with banks having snapped up many of the most promising as they look to stay competitive. In April, Viva Wallet raised $80 million from investors including Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd., the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development and Breyer Capital.
For JPMorgan, any deal would continue a rich streak of fintech tie-ups. The bank has been pushing hard to buy in the sector as it seeks to fend off future rivals. It’s made 24 acquisitions or so-called strategic investments this year in a range of areas, many of which have gone unnoticed as they were too small or niche.
JPMorgan agreed in June to purchase U.K. digital wealth manager Nutmeg Saving & Investment for close to 700 million pounds ($932 million) to expand its international retail business. It also spent more than $1 billion to acquire a 40% stake in Brazilian digital bank C6, Bloomberg News has reported.