South Korean insurer buys 4.1% stake in lending Club for $66m

South Korea’s Hanwha Life Insurance has acquired a 4.1% stake in troubled peer-to-peer lending firm Lending Club.

The insurer paid $66.3m for the stake – a price that suggest the firm believes the US lender’s stock is undervalued.

Lending Club was valued at $5.4bn in its 2014 IPO but has seen its value fall following the departure of CEO Renaud Laplanche as a result of an internal probe into a loan sale.

It’s currently valued at $2.1bn.

In addition to the investment Hanwha Life Insurance is forming a strategic partnership with the company.

Lending Club claims to have facilitated more than $21bn in loans and is expected to report its Q3 2016 earnings this month.

The earnings call follows a disappointing second quarter for the company that saw its losses grow to $81.4m.

Hanwha Life Insurance is a part of the Hanwha Group conglomerate and the investment comes as a part of a group-wide fintech initiative.

The insurer has recently forged a series of partnerships with foreign fintech firms, such as China’s Dianrong.com.

Hanwha Life Insurance said it has no immediate plans to buy any more stock in LendingClub but expects to make a profit on the shares in the long term as well as gain an insight into the peer-to-peer lending space.

Copyright © 2016 FINTECH GLOBAL

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