ASX-listed Bendigo and Adelaide Bank will pay up to $116 million for Ferocia, the Melbourne fintech co-founded by Dominic Pym and Grant Thomas.
Ferocia has been behind Bendigo e-banking app and internet banking platform for nine years and three years ago, Bendigo partnered with Pym and Ferocia to launch the neobank Up.
The 100% acquisition is in exchange for Bendigo (ASX: BEN) shares and subject to five-year earnout hurdles, with a portion of the consideration contingent on future performance.
The deal includes Ferocia’s 50% ownership of Up, all intellectual property and the fintech’s team, who will join the bank but continue to operate independently as a standalone division.
Up customers will continue to have the same access to their account as they do today.
The M&A deal follows NAB’s acquisition of 86 400 earlier this year for $220 million
The transaction is scheduled for completion by the final quarter of 2021.
Bendigo Bank says the acquisition will up its operating expenses by around 1% in FY22, with plans underway to expand revenue opportunities to balance the increase.
The bank says the acquisition will accelerate its digital strategy, cement the partnership Ferocia, grow and advance the Up platform, and further develop its digital ecosystem. Up’s product roadmap will be added to Bendigo’s existing offerings, including the digital home loan capability through its partner, Tic:Toc.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank MD Marnie Baker said more than 30% of active Up customers are saving for a home loan.
“The announcement unites our strong customer, community and innovation heritage with Ferocia’s market leading digital capability to deliver all Australians world-leading digital banking experiences,” she said.
“Through our partnership, we have embraced Up as a strategic, digital testbed – reimagining new banking experiences for a new generation of customers – and its rapid growth has far exceeded all expectations.”
Baker said Up’s customer engagement is unparalleled globally.
“It’s welcomed more than 400,000 customers and $840 million in deposits in less than three years, it’s empowered a new generation of savers and it will secure our market leading position with this emerging, influential demographic,” she said.
“As we further accelerate Up’s rapid pace of innovation and growth and further expand revenue opportunities through Up, customers of our other brands will benefit from Ferocia’s digital innovation and experience.”
Baker said Up will remain as the same brand, run by the same people, with the same customer proposition.
Ferocia co-founder Dominic Pym said that when they launched Up in 2018, they set out to disrupt the industry with technology-led banking.
“The launch of Up ushered in a new digital banking age through a unique fintech and bank partnership,” he said.
“With a vision to be Australia’s number one consumer lifestyle brand, the time is right to scale Up through a deepened relationship and new product offerings from the Bank, whilst bringing Ferocia’s expertise to the rest of the Bank’s highly engaged customer base.”
The acquisition was part of Bendigo Bank’s FY21 results, announced this morning. The bank’s statutory net profit after tax jumped 171% of FY20 to $524 million. Cash earnings after tax rose 51.5% to $457.2 million. $BEN is paying a fully franked dividend of $0.50 cents per share.