Banks’ Takeover of Fintech Startups Faces Regulatory Obstacles

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Growing regulatory concerns could force banks to reverse decisions to take on fintech startups. This reflected in Swiss banking giant UBS’s decision to scrap a $1.4 billion takeover of venture-backed robo-adviser Wealthfront.

Although the two companies said the decision to terminate the deal was based on “mutual agreement,” experts pointed out that terminating the deal would be detrimental to both companies.

“From Wealthfront’s perspective, and with respect to what has happened to valuations to growth stocks, it’s not a valuation I would walk away from,” said David Goldstone, manager of investment research at Condor Capital.

Questions surrounding the breakup of the deal offered no real insight into the motives behind the termination of the deal. However, Primack, a source familiar with the situation, said: “The deal collapse came suddenly, as reflected by Friday night’s terse announcement, with unspecified regulatory concerns being raised in just the past several weeks.”

After the $1.4 billion deal collapsed, UBS decided instead to invest $69.7 million in the company at a valuation that Wealthfront described as $1.4 billion.

The sources for this piece include an article in TechCrunch.


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