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Prosper Acquires BillGuard

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sf_cityThere was a time when peer-to-peer lending networks were considered fringe. Once purely described as marketplace lending, these networks allow nonbank institutions to lend to people and businesses online. But the way consumers’ access loans have evolved since then. For years these networks have grown in loans underwritten. In JP Morgan’s April letter to shareholders, CEO Jamie Dimon warned about Silicon Valley’s encroachment in traditional banking. With revenue growth draws competition and peer-to-peer lenders are beginning to find ways to differentiate by offering complementary services.

Peer-to-peer lending giant Prosper Marketplace acquired Israel-based BillGuard, a crowdsourced security app for personal financial management. Numerous media sources reported the deal price to be US$ 30 million in cash with some equity. Prosper did the deal for a number of valid reasons. The first reason is BillGuard’s foreseeable integration onto Prosper’s platform, offering an ancillary service to its customer base. Second is access to diversified talent. Third, BillGuard touts a community of 1.3 million registered users and flags unauthorized charges – giving Prosper exposure to the cybersecurity market and helping indirectly lower default rates (better cash management).

In January 2015, Prosper acquired American Healthcare Lending, a patient-financing platform, for US$ 21 million.

Mergermarket Gets Ready to be Sold

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Private equity firm BC Partners hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on the sales of Acuris. Acuris is a collection of financial news and data sites, which includes Mergermarket, Dealreporter, and Debtwire. In 2017, BC Partners sold around a 30% stake in GIC Private Limited.

Before the rebranding to Acuris, Mergermarket was part of The Financial Times Group until 2013 when it was sold off to BC Partners.

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Why Japan Post Sees Promise in Aflac

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Aflac Inc. is an American insurance company founded in 1955. The company is the biggest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States. Aflac also has major operations in Japan.

In December 2018, Japan Post Holdings (JPHLF) signaled it was spending US$ 2.64 billion for a 7-8 % stake in Aflac. The goal is that, in four years time, Aflac will become an affiliate of Japan Post. Japan Post hopes to accomplish this by becoming the largest voting shareholder of the company. The world’s 13th largest company, with 400,000 employees, Japan Post needs to expand to chase further growth, mainly because Japan Post expects the postal business to decline. Diversification is seen as the optimal route to long term stability for the holding company. Japan’s economy is worrying. Japan’s aging population means that many insurance companies are facing a shrinking customer base, Japan Post settled on a plan to expand overseas.

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RDIF and Development Agency of Serbia Agree to Explore Joint Investments

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Development Agency of Serbia, also known as Razvojna agencija Srbije, reached an agreement to work together to identify attractive investment projects to strengthen bilateral economic ties and increase investment flows between Russia and Serbia. Russian capital and businesses are keen on investing in Serbia.

In addition, the two countries signed an agreement to cooperate on civil nuclear energy, according to state-owned Russian reactor builder Rosatom (Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation). Rosatom continues to expand it business of nuclear cooperation deals in a wide number of countries.

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