Lending Club May Also Be Seeking a Buyer

This morning I just read this article on Reuters PE Hub. It claimed that Lending Club is also seeking a buyer at the same time they are preparing for an IPO.

LendingClub Corp., which is backed by investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is pursuing a dual track process, two sources said.

The peer-to-peer lending company filed to go public in August but is also seeking a buyer, the people said. Goldman Sachs, who is an underwriter on the IPO, is advising on the sale, one of the sources said.

Now, let me say right away that I have no idea whether these rumors are true and I didn’t even bother contacting Lending Club about this because they would clearly say nothing. But it may explain why the IPO has not yet taken place. The original timetable said that the IPO would likely be before Thanksgiving. Given that they have not started their roadshow yet, that timetable is probably not going to happen.

I will be surprised if they do indeed sell before an IPO but it makes for an interesting exercise thinking about who would buy Lending Club. Given their lofty valuation I don’t think any bank would be willing to pay that much and as the article said private equity firms would likely not be interested either. If I had to guess I would say Facebook – they have shown they are willing to pay ridiculously high multiples in previous acquisitions and they have also indicated an interest in financial services recently. Then there is the historical link between the two companies – Lending Club launched in 2007 as a Facebook app.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I will obviously share when there is any real news to report.

  • Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of LendIt Fintech, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech. Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series. Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.

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