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M&A: ABN Amro acquires European neobroker BUX

Posted:Dec 15, 2023 10:21 Category: Crypto , Europe , Fintech , Posted by
Lea Hogg

Amsterdam-based trading app BUX has undergone a significant development as it has been acquired by ABN AMRO, its clearing provider and minority investor. This strategic move comes at the conclusion of a challenging year for BUX in 2023, marked by the collapse of a potential €100m+ acquisition by N26 at the beginning of the year, followed by a withdrawal from the UK market and layoffs towards the end.

Crypto trading not included in acquisition 

Established in 2013, BUX has grown to serve over 500,000 clients on its platform. In 2019, the company entered into a partnership with ABN AMRO Clearing, licensing the bank’s technology. With this recent acquisition, the combined entity of BUX and ABN AMRO is poised to become the foremost investment platform for investors in the Netherlands. The deal also includes provisions for “additional growth investment” aimed at expediting BUX’s expansion.

Interestingly, the acquisition does not encompass BUX’s crypto trading offering, leaving the fate of this product uncertain. Yorick Naeff, CEO of BUX, (photo above), expressed optimism about the collaboration, stating, “We’ve always had the ambition to be the leader in Europe’s retail investment arena, and joining forces with ABN AMRO is a crucial stride towards achieving this goal.”

Naeff highlighted the synergy between BUX’s speed, agility, and commitment to innovation, combined with ABN AMRO’s extensive expertise in personal finance and longstanding reputation. The acquisition follows BUX’s last funding round in April 2021, where it raised $80 million. The approval of the acquisition is pending regulatory clearance, and both companies anticipate the finalization of the deal in 2024.

Acquisition by N26 fell apart

N26’s takeover of Dutch neobroker BUX, was set to be the largest deal in N26’s history, but it was abruptly cancelled due to disagreements over the management structure’s future. The acquisition would have enabled N26 to expand its services to include buying and selling shares and ETFs. Sources reveal that the deal collapsed just before closure, as N26 found the acquisition’s complexity too high, failing to reach an agreement on management structure and valuation.

While N26, valued at €7.7 billion in 2021, explores opportunities aligned with strategic goals, both companies remain tight-lipped on the matter. The decline in trading activity, exacerbated by market challenges and N26’s focus on addressing regulatory concerns, may have contributed to the deal’s unravelling.

Major restructuring slashing 40% of Workforce 

Last month BUX, backed by Tencent, undertook a significant restructuring, cutting approximately 40 percent of its workforce due to challenges in securing funding within the fintech sector. Despite a successful US $80 million funding round in April 2021, the company faced difficulties in 2022, leading CEO Yorick Naeff to make tough decisions, including exiting the UK market. The restructuring plan also involves selling its UK entity, with closure expected in Q1 2024. BUX is now concentrating on its European stronghold, particularly in the Netherlands and Belgium, aiming for profitability by the end of the year through strategic partnerships and adjusted pricing

Forefront of Netherlands’ investment platform

Although it has been a difficult year for BUX, the acquisition by ABN AMRO represents a strategic pivot, with the combined entity positioned at the forefront of the Netherlands’ investment platforms. While uncertainties loom over BUX’s crypto trading offering, CEO Yorick Naeff’s optimism reflects his ambition to lead Europe’s retail investment sector through the synergies of speed, agility, and innovation, coupled with ABN AMRO’s expertise. As regulatory clearance remains pending, the anticipated finalization in 2024 opens a new chapter for BUX, aligning with its goal of becoming a European industry leader.

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