Major players like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Lloyds Banking Group Plc have expressed interest in buying the challenger Starling Bank Ltd., the Times reported.
This comes just a week after Anne Boden, CEO, Starling Bank, announced that the digital bank has reached break-even and is on the road to profitability.
With nearly 1.8 million accounts, £4 billion in deposits and £1.5 billion of lending, Starling generated £9 million of revenue for the month of October 2020, which represents an annualised run rate of £108 million.
Starling was founded by Anne Boden in 2017 and its main shareholders include Bermuda-based Harry McPike and Merian Global investors. Starling has raised £363 million and closely guards its valuation, which is estimated to be more than £1 billion.
If the Starling ended up being purchased, it could lead to the first big merger of an established lender with a start-up in Britain. Recently TSB, a commercial bank in the United Kingdom and a subsidiary of Sabadell Group, was put on the block by its Spanish owner.
JP Morgan, America’s biggest bank, is understood to have talked about taking on Starling as it prepares to launch its consumer bank in the UK in the new year.
However, a spokeswoman for Starling said: “Anne has always said she will never sell to a big bank. An IPO is still in our sights.” Spokesmen for JP Morgan and Lloyds declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.