Saxo Bank sells Banking Circle to Swedish PE firm EQT


saxo bank banking circle sold eqt

Copenhagen based Retail FX brokerage group Saxo Bank is continuing a radical makeover of the company and jettisoning of non-core assets, agreeing to sell its Banking Circle payments unit to Swedish private equity firm EQT partners.

The parties did not disclose a price for the transaction. Prending regulatory approval, the sale is expected to close in Q4-2018.

Ahead of a pending takeover of Saxo Bank by China’s Geely Group and Finland’s Sampo, the company’s current management team has already been busy reshaping the company through both a number of hires and departures, as well as jettisoning certain non-core units including the company’s South Africa FX business, Danish private banking arm Privatbank, and now Banking Circle. At the same time, Saxo Bank has been pouring more resources into China the Far East.

EQT Partners’ EQT VIII fund and EQT Ventures fund will buy the company together with Banking Circle company founders and other co-investors. EQT VIII will have the majority ownership.

Founded in 2013, Banking Circle is a next-generation provider of mission-critical infrastructure for online cross-border payments. Today, Banking Circle is processing around €60 billion run-rate annual payment volumes for several high-profile customers using direct clearing access through partnerships with blue-chip partner banks. The global cross-border payments market is driven by an increasing need for faster and less costly payments, compliance, and transparency, resulting in one of the fastest growing segments within the payments ecosystem.

EQT said that it will support the continued acceleration of Banking Circle’s growth strategy, in current and new geographies, as well as the expansion of the product portfolio. Through EQT, Banking Circle will get access to both operational and financial resources to drive innovation and investments in technology development and talent acquisition. The company will also be able to leverage the entire EQT platform, including deep TMT sector expertise, local presence and EQT’s global network of Industrial Advisors. Banking Circle’s current management team, including founders and co-CEOs Anders la Cour and Laust Bertelsen, will continue to lead the organization, building on a strong track record of growth.

Kim Fournais Saxo Bank
Kim Fournais, Saxo Bank

Kim Fournais, founder and CEO of Saxo Bank said of the sale of Banking Circle:

We are proud of Saxo Payments Banking Circle’s development and growth. As investor and incubator, we have supported the company with our core competencies in foreign exchange as well as developing and managing global fintech solutions. It is not an easy task to build fintech solutions that create value and are long-term sustainable, but the company has done what few succeed in. We see EQT as the ideal partner for the next part of the journey and we are confident that Saxo Payments Banking Circle will thrive and continue its impressive growth trajectory. We look forward to continuing a close collaboration with the company and EQT, leveraging our technology and market access.

Anders la Cour and Laust Bertelsen, co-CEOs at Banking Circle commented:

We would like to thank Saxo Bank for a great partnership and look forward to a close collaboration in the years to come. We are excited to partner with EQT. With their support, we will be ideally positioned to continue innovating to serve our customers even better and continue our rapid growth.

Mads Ditlevsen, Responsible Deal Partner and Partner at EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to the majority owner EQT VIII, said:

We have followed Banking Circle for several years and are impressed by the company’s management team and unique innovation capabilities. Saxo Bank and Banking Circle’s management team have built an innovative, secure, and highly automated platform to make competitive, faster, and more transparent payments across borders. EQT is looking forward to supporting Banking Circle and the management team on their continued growth journey and in building a leading global payments infrastructure player. The cooperation between EQT VIII and EQT Ventures enables Banking Circle to benefit from the full EQT platform.

“We’re excited to partner with the entrepreneurs behind Banking Circle and support them in building the next generation infrastructure for cross-border payments,” says Hjalmar Winbladh, Partner at EQT Partners and Investment Advisor to EQT Ventures. “Cross-border payments is a large and rapidly growing market dominated by traditional players. Banking Circle has built a disruptive solution with a strong value proposition. The customer feedback is excellent and the company’s traction is evident looking at the triple digit growth of the business.”

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Saxo Bank sells Banking Circle to Swedish PE firm EQT

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