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JPMorgan, Lloyds set sights on Starling Bank: Times

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JPMorgan Chase & Co and Lloyds Banking Group have expressed interest in buying Starling Bank, a British challenger startup lender, the Times reported.

[LONDON] JPMorgan Chase & Co and Lloyds Banking Group have expressed interest in buying Starling Bank, a British challenger startup lender, the Times reported.

The sale of Starling could lead to the first big merger of an established lender with a startup in Britain, the newspaper said, without identifying its sources.

American giant JPMorgan is preparing to launch a consumer bank in the UK in the new year, while LLoyds, one of Britain's largest retail banks, is interested in Starling's technology, according to the Times.

Starling was founded by Anne Boden in 2017 and its main shareholders include Bermuda-based Harry McPike and Merian Global investors. The bank recently said it had made its first profit of £800,000 (S$1.4 million) in the month of October. Its customer numbers rose this summer when it was accredited to lend government-backed bounce-back and coronavirus business interruption loans.

The interest in Starling has arisen after it opened a data room as part of a plan to raise £200 million in new funding, the Times said, adding that Ms Boden, chief executive officer of Starling, has long expressed an ambition to float the bank on the stock market.

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"Anne has always said she will never sell to a big bank," a spokesperson for Starling said. "An IPO (initial public offering) is still in our sights."

A spokesperson for JPMorgan and a spokesperson for Lloyds declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

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