Fidelity, the U.S. fund management giant, is in talks to take a 100 million pound (about $136.8 million) stake in the U.K.’s Starling Bank in what could be a great vote of confidence for the burgeoning digital lender, Sky News reported.
This comes in spite of the skepticism about the valuations in the sector, according to the report. The deal might not happen, and a conclusion is still far off.
Sky News cited a source who said there are a number of blue-chip external investors also in talks about taking part in the fundraiser.
Starling was founded in 2014 by Anne Boden. The company embarked on a mission to raise 200 million pounds (about $273.6 million) last fall when investment bank Rothschild was hired to gauge interest from investors. According to Sky News, there was no clear valuation on the company as of last week.
Starling’s fundraising plans came as the company eyed an initial public offering (IPO), according to PYMNTS. The company had also raised $477 million. Boden, who is a banking industry veteran, had begun speaking publicly about the IPO in November.
“I’ve got my sights on an IPO,” Boden said, according to the report, adding she has no desire to sell Starling and wants to stay independent. “I’d very much like to do that. I’ve been very, very fortunate, I’ve had a long career, which is full of interesting things. And the next challenge is in front of me.”
Boden has worked with big names like Lloyds Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered. She also published “Banking On It,” a 300-page book detailing the beginnings of Starling and its insider goings-on.
Bank of England granted Starling a banking license in 2016. The next year, Starling launched its first mobile personal bank account and app. In 2018, it debuted its first digital business account.