China’s Geely and Finland’s Sampo take control of Saxo Bank, buy out TPG Capital and SinarMas

Saxo Bank Geely group London Taxi

Saxo Bank has a new majority owner.

The Copenhagen based multi asset online broker has announced that Finland’s Sampo Oyj (HEL:SAMPO) is becoming a new shareholder in Saxo Bank, joining China’s Geely Group which will now become Saxo Bank’s largest (and controlling) shareholder.

Geely and Sampo will jointly buy out the other two main outside shareholders of Saxo Bank, US west coast investor TPG Capital (29.26% stake) and Indonesia’s SinarMas (9.9%). After the dust settles, Geely will own 51.5% of Saxo Bank, while Sampo will own 19.9%.

While Saxo Bank did not release any financial details of the various deals, Sampo announced in a filing made to the stock exchange that it is paying EUR 265 million for its 19.9% stake. That translates to an overall company value of EUR 1.33 billion, or a USD $1.56 billion valuation for Saxo Bank.

TPG had been a long-time shareholder of Saxo Bank, while Sinar Mas invested $144 million into Saxo Bank in 2015 for its 9.9% stake, helping Saxo beef up its capital base in the wake of the Swiss Franc spike that year. (Doing the math, SinarMas should report a profit of about $11 million on its two-year investment in Saxo Bank. TPG, on the other hand, will likely report a small loss as it paid $560 million for its stake back in 2011).

Saxo Bank co-founder and CEO Kim Fournais’ stake of 25.71% remains unchanged.

Sampo Group is a leading Nordic financial group operating in property and casualty insurance and life insurance business. The parent company Sampo Oyj is listed in Nasdaq Helsinki with a market capital of EUR 25 billion. Sampo’s subsidiary If P&C Insurance is the largest property and casualty insurer in the Nordic region, with more than 3.7 million customers in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Mandatum Life is a financial services company that provides wealth management, remuneration services and personal risk insurance to private and corporate customers in Finland and in Baltic countries. Sampo plc is also the largest shareholder in Nordea Bank and Topdanmark, which are Sampo’s associated companies.

Back in May it was announced that Chinese entrepreneur Li Shufu, via his Geely Group – best known globally as the owner of Volvo and manufacturer of London Taxis via its Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (HKG:0175) unit – was buying out Saxo Bank co-founder Lars Seier Christensen and taking a 30% stake in the company.

The transactions are pending regulatory approvals and are expected to be finalised during the next six months. We’d also note that the transaction does not directly affect Saxo Bank, with the shares and cash passing hands between the various current and former shareholders.

Kim Fournais Saxo Bank

Kim Fournais, Saxo Bank

Kim Fournais, Saxo Bank Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, said:

With both Geely Group and Sampo Group as key shareholders in Saxo Bank, we have a strong group of owners with a wish and ability to foster long term growth. Geely is well known for its strong power of execution, ability to foster growth and entrepreneurial spirit. With Geely we secure a strong position in core growth markets in Asia with greater China as center. Sampo Group has a long and impressive history in financial services bringing a wealth of experience and insight in the financial sector. This marks a new and important chapter for Saxo Bank giving us a unique and strong foundation and I look forward to taking Saxo Bank to new highs together with our shareholders and employees, ensuring our clients a best-in-class experience. I would like to thank the current investors for their partnership, belief in Saxo Bank and their contribution over the years.

Daniel Donghui Li, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Geely Group, said:

We have found Saxo Bank to be an extremely strong partner for many of Geely’s investment partners across the Greater China region. We at Geely Group believe that Saxo Bank’s technologies and product value can be effectively expanded across the Asian region, which is why we are willing to offer to buy more shares in Saxo Bank. Over the past decade Saxo Bank has developed a strong reputation in global financial and regulatory technology, which we hope to strengthen in the Asia region in the coming years.

Kari Stadigh, Chief Executive Officer and President, Sampo Group, said:

Saxo Bank is an exceptionally interesting unicorn in the Nordic fintech area and Sampo is excited to participate in developing its global reach further. Saxo has a unique trading platform which, in our view, is the best in the market and offers great potential globally for white labelling to financial institutions, investors and family offices.

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