Värde Partners to Acquire Remaining 49% Stake in WiZink from Popular-Grupo Santander

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March 26, 2018

Värde Partners to become the sole shareholder of WiZink, a leading independent digital bank specialized in revolving credit in Spain and Portugal. WiZink will transfer the debit and credit cards of Banco Popular customers to Grupo Santander. WiZink will remain focused on providing consumer credit and savings products as a market leader in flexible payment solutions.

MADRID – WiZink and Värde Partners today announced an agreement for Värde Partners to acquire the remaining 49% stake in WiZink, an online bank serving Spain and Portugal, from Banco Santander, S.A. and its subsidiary Banco Popular Español, S.A. (jointly “Grupo Santander”). Värde Partners has held a 51% stake in WiZink since 2014 and will become the company’s sole shareholder. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter 2018, subject to regulatory approvals.

“The strength of Wizink’s strategy lies in its unique business model, making them a significant player in the flexible payments segment in Iberia,” said Elena Lieskovska, European Head of Specialty Finance at Värde and member of the Board of Directors at WiZink, “The management team has delivered growth over time by providing innovative customer solutions and services in a market we believe has further potential and favourable macroeconomic trends.”

As part of the agreement, WiZink will transfer the debit and credit cards of Popular customers in Spain and Portugal to Grupo Santander. At closing, Grupo Santander will manage this business through the Banco Popular branch network. WiZink and Grupo Santander will work closely to ensure that the transition process will not impact customers’ day-to-day operations.

Following the transaction, WiZink will manage more than €3 billion in credit card balances in Spain and Portugal, representing nearly 90% of WiZink’s total revenue, as well as more than €3 billion in deposits and savings accounts. WiZink will remain focused on its core business: customer focused credit and savings solutions. With 30 years of experience and more than 2 million customers, WiZink leads the revolving credit market in Spain and Portugal.

Iñaki Perkins, Managing Director of WiZink, commented, “Our value proposition in credit and savings products is designed to anticipate customers’ changing needs through an increasingly digital experience. With the continued support of Värde Partners, we aim to strengthen our position in the flexible payments segment and take advantage of the growth opportunities in this evolving market.”

About Värde Partners
Värde Partners is a $13 billion global alternative investment firm that employs a value-based approach to investing across a broad array of geographies, segments and asset types, including specialty finance, real estate, corporate credit, mortgages, real assets and infrastructure. The firm sponsors and manages a family of private investment funds with a global investor base that includes foundations and endowments, pension plans, insurance companies, other institutional investors and private clients. Now in its third decade, Värde employs more than 280 people globally with regional headquarters in Minneapolis, London and Singapore.

Värde is an experienced investor in the specialty finance sector with a 20-year track record of investing in consumer and commercial credit.

About WiZink
WiZink is a bank that specializes in customer focused credit and savings solutions that respond to its customers’ day-to-day needs; a bank without branches that is designed to complement the bank used by its customers for the rest of their banking services.

WiZink operates with its own banking license and has a unique specialization model: the bank serves customers through specialized channels (online, telephone banking and stands). In addition, strategic agreements with key partners allow WiZink to offer co-branded credit cards adapted to customers’ particular needs (e.g. Cepsa and Globalia).