Much of the news about Lending Club’s recent troubles surrounding the departure of CEO Renaud Laplanche has been negative. This has caused the stock price to plummet over the past two weeks as more news came to light. However, there are certainly investors who smell opportunity and one investor just invested a significant amount in Lending Club. Today we learned that Tianqiao Chen , a Chinese billionaire now owns a 11.7% stake of Lending Club through his company, Shanda Group.
According to an article from Reuters:
Shanda Group said in a statement that it was a “strong believer” in the business model that Lending Club has pioneered and was “positive on its long-term prospects as it continues to evolve and refine its business.”
The Shanda Group purchased about 29 million shares for $148.7 million which has today sent the stock price up over 8% to $4.32 at the close of trading. We haven’t heard much public support for Lending Club from any US based companies, but the market in Asia is thriving and it seems that the Shanda Group is still a believer in the Lending Club vision.
LendIt Co-Founder Jason Jones recently came back from a two week trip to China in preparation for LendIt China 2016. After a huge setback earlier this year with the $7.6 billion Ezubao fraud it seems as the industry is recovering and coming back even stronger than before. Jason had this to say after his most recent trip:
Internet finance is a major force in China. Since there is very little banking/investment infrastructure for consumers and small businesses, there is a huge opportunity for consumer facing businesses to build products and services. In this case Shanda is a gaming company with a large cash balance that is transitioning into Internet finance.
Shanda Group is another example of a company that is investing heavily into internet finance in the US. Renren, a Chinese firm has taken a similar approach and has a stake in many US based online lenders such as SoFi, Lending Home and Fundrise among other fintech companies.
It’s still too early to tell what the ultimate repercussions will be from the Lending Club saga, but it’s clear that there are still people who still believe in Lending Club. Having a large investment from Shanda Group is not something that should surprise us as fintech is truly a global trend. Investors from around the world are hoping to cash in on this trend which will continue despite any speed bumps along the way.