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Värde acquires part of Barclays credit card business

 US-based alternative asset manager works with partners to expand consumer services presence in Spain and Portugal.  

Banco Popular Espanol, an online bank in which Värde Partners holds a 51 percent stake, has agreed to purchase Barclays Barclaycard credit card business in Spain and Portugal. The deal was announced today (28 April) and is subject to regulatory approval. It's expected to close by the end of the year.


“Our credit card operation in Spain and Portugal is a very good business with a highly-talented and dedicated workforce, but it no longer fits with our strategic ambitions,” said Barclays chief executive Jes Staley in a statement. “I am sure it will continue to thrive as part of the Banco Popular business,” he added.


The size of the deal was not disclosed, but Barclays said the business has $1.5 billion in assets and was being sold at a small premium to gross receivables as part of an ongoing effort to dispose of non-core assets.


Värde purchased its majority stake in Banco Popular Espanol in 2014 from the parent Banco Popular. The Spanish bank retains the additional 49 percent stake in the Bancopopular-e, an online bank that specialises in credit cards.


“Specialised lenders like Bancopopular-e, who are deploying innovative customer strategies, have a real opportunity to provide critical consumer services in the marketplace,” said Värde managing director Elena Lieskovska in a statement.


Calls seeking further comment on the deal were not returned by press time.


Värde Partners is an alternative asset manager specialising in value investing and credit strategies that counts trusts, foundations, endowments and other institutional investors among its clients. Founded in 1993, the Minneapolis-based company has invested in 60 countries and recently worked with asset manager Altico Capital to loan $86 million for real estate projects in India. Värde has 200 employees and maintains additional offices in London and Singapore, as well as secondary offices in Barcelona, Dublin, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, New York, Sydney and Tokyo.