Kabbage Is Said to Acquire Startup Backed by Wall Street Titans

(Bloomberg) -- Orchard Platform Markets LLC, a provider of lending data and services backed by the former heads of Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley, is set to be acquired by small-business lending platform Kabbage Inc., said people familiar with the deal.

Kabbage plans to use Orchard’s technology, and some of the employees are also expected to move to Kabbage’s New York office, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. It’s unclear how much Kabbage will pay, and the transaction could still fall through. Kabbage and Orchard declined to comment.

New York-based Orchard was started in 2013 to provide Wall Street firms with data on the marketplace lending sector, which became popular after banks pared back loans following the financial crisis. Citi’s Vikram Pandit and Morgan Stanley’s John Mack, each intimately familiar with the consequences of bad loans on the American housing market, invested in Orchard, the company has said. Bloomberg LP offers some Orchard data to customers through the terminal.

A couple of years after its founding, Orchard expressed ambitions to become a trading platform for loan securities, but things didn’t work out as planned. Large marketplaces like LendingClub Corp. were reluctant to give Orchard permission to trade their loans due to regulatory concerns. As the business wobbled, Orchard had been searching for a buyer in recent weeks, said one person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private.

Kabbage focuses on small businesses and also licenses technology to banks, much like Orchard. SoftBank Group Corp. kicked $250 million into the Atlanta-based startup last August, bringing its total equity investment to more than $500 million, Kabbage has said.

Despite big-name backers, Orchard has raised far less capital. It has about $40 million, with funding from Spark Capital, Thrive Capital and other investors, and last raised financing in July. Orchard co-founders Matt Burton and David Snitkof are expected to join Kabbage, people familiar with the deal said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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