J.P. Morgan completes a year-long strategic investment in Viva Wallet as it expands its European operations to Greece.
J.P. Morgan closes on a 48.5 per cent ownership stake in Viva Wallet and it continues its Greek expansion. Athens-headquartered Viva Wallet is a cloud-based payments fintech company founded in 2000.
It offers value-added services to merchants including tap-to-device technology, merchant cash advance, bill pay and expense management. Services also include virtual debit card issuance, cash disbursement, gift cards and loyalty.
During the course of closing the agreement, the fintech received €25million in financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It’s using this financing to develop its ‘tap-on-phone’ solution for in-store payments; a positive for its now-completed deal with J.P. Morgan. Viva Wallet further increases its capital by a €100million cash injection provided by J.P. Morgan.
J.P. Morgan will leverage its new state in Viva Wallet to extend the omnichannel merchant acquiring capabilities it can offer to European merchants. As both work with corporate treasury services, trade finance, and card and merchant services, the agreement forms a natural alignment between the two companies.
“This strategic investment from J.P. Morgan’s Payments business will enable us to complete the build-out of our vision to deliver localised payments and transactions services to SMBs across Europe,” says Haris Karonis, CEO and co-founder of Viva Wallet.
Karonis and co-founder Makis Antypas retain their majority shareholding after the closing of the transaction, with 51.5 per cent of shares in Viva Wallet.
As part of the Transaction, J.P. Morgan is also converting Viva Wallet’s convertible loan note and as a result, Viva Wallet Group eliminates its debt.
J. P. Morgan’s Greek expansion
Having announced the agreement back in January, it seems fitting that J.P. Morgan is rounding off its year with the closing of the agreement. And one month on from its announced expansion to Greece, the new stake in Viva Wallet will help tease out any creases in the unfolding of its SMB payments in Europe.
J.P. Morgan has been busy introducing its SMB payments brand Chase Payments Solutions across the US and in parts of Europe. Its investment in Viva Wallet sets the stage to develop future international products and services across the European region.
Its plans for a new payments innovation lab in Athens will back these efforts, dedicated to the research and development of its payment business.
“We are excited to close this important strategic investment for the firm,” comments Takis Georgakopoulos, global head of J.P. Morgan Payments. “We believe the European payments space is a major growth opportunity in the years to come.
“With its platform and omnichannel merchant acquiring capabilities, Viva Wallet is primed to build on its position with SMBs in the region.”
With local branches in 24 European markets, Viva Wallet is positioned well to serve businesses and marketplaces in the continent.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to J.P. Morgan and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Karatzas & Partners served as legal advisors. Jefferies served as exclusive financial advisor to Viva Wallet and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP served as legal advisor.