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美国运通低调收购英国Fintech创企Cake

近日,英国金融科技公司Cake Technologies正式宣布被美国运通公司收购。

据消息人士透露,该交易已于去年10月悄然完成,最终价格为1330万美元(约合1010万英镑)。未来,美国运通计划利用Cake加强其在餐饮支付场所的服务和价值。

收购完成后,Cake员工将直接加盟美国运通。其中,Cake创始人Charlotte Kohlmann和Michelle Songy将分别担任美国运通全球餐饮平台解决方案副总裁和美国运通全球平台餐饮解决方案负责人。

Cake公司一路走来也算是波折不断。2016年,就在Cake公司A轮500万英镑即将完成之时,公司创始人却因个人原因离职,也导致Cake就此陷入财务危机。为了拯救平台,Cake董事会在2017年年初发起了一次债务形式的“救援融资活动”,希望让公司得到更多的发展空间。所有现有股东据可以按比例参与融资,但是由于风险问题,部分股东选择了放弃。

2017年5月,美国运通首次提出收购Cake,并在同年6月完成了对这家创业公司的尽职调查,但却在7月中旬以不明原因撤回了交易。为了让销售回到正轨,Cake公司联合创始人Kholmann随即飞往纽约进行协商,这笔交易最终在10月份结束。

 

Cake Technologies, the U.K. fintech startup that wanted to make it more convenient to pay your restaurant or bar bill, has been acquired by American Express — as the credit card behemoth plans to beef up its payment options for Amex members.

According to sources the deal quietly completed in October last year for a final price of $13.3 million (approx. £10.1m). However, due to an eleventh-hour preferential debt round and after fees, only some shareholders made a profit. I also understand from one source that Cake had raised a total of £4.5 million in equity and £1.4 million in debt. Part of the equity funding was a £1 million crowdfunding round on Crowdcube in 2015.

Confirming the acquisition, American Express gave TechCrunch the following statement:

Last year American Express acquired Cake Technologies. This year, we will be on-boarding Cake and their technologies to collaborate on ways to provide our Card Members with enhanced service and value in the dining space, which is an area many of our Card Members are passionate about.

A spokesperson for American Express declined to comment on the exact financial terms of the deal, but said that it was a “good outcome for Cake employees, previous investors and American Express”. They did confirm, however, that Cake employees are now employees of American Express.

This includes Cake founders Charlotte Kohlmann and Michelle Songy, who hold the positions of Vice President Global Dining Platform Solutions at American Express, and Director Global Platform Dining Solutions at American Express, respectively.

“We are excited to have Cake on board with us and look forward to collaborating on bringing our Card Members exciting new capabilities in the dining space soon,” adds the American Express spokesperson.

The back story to Cake’s eventual exit makes for interesting reading. According to a source with knowledge of the startup’s path to a sale, who spoke to TechCrunch on the condition of anonymity, it was very close to raising a £5 million Series A in the fall of 2016 before the company’s founders walked away for “ethical reasons,” although the source declined to diverge what these were. This then left Cake in a precarious situation financially as the company could not find another VC to step in quickly enough before running out of cash.

In the holidays/early 2017, the board of Cake put together a rescue round that was structured in the form of debt and designed to give the startup more runway to try to achieve a trade sale. All existing shareholders were given the chance to participate on a pro rata basis, although some declined due to the substantial risk of doubling down.

The loan was also structured so that, should the company get acquired, these eleventh hour investors would get a multiple preferential return. This, I’m told, explains why some investors made money from the exit, while others, including some Crowdcube backers, lost money, even possibly after factoring in EIS tax breaks.

In May 2017, American Express first made an offer to acquire Cake. The startup passed due diligence in late June, but American Express pulled the deal in mid-July for unknown reasons. Determined to get the sale back on track, Cake co-founder Kohlmann flew to New York unannounced and the deal eventually closed in October.

“Despite the complications and lengthy process, Amex did a really good deal here,” says my source. “It is clear that Cake is now a very important part of their digital strategy and the purchase price looks like good value in that context. Cake’s user experience will be a benefit to users of the Amex app once fully integrated and Cake’s basket level POS integrations will give Amex better insight into exactly what products their customers are buying rather than just where they go and how much they spend”.


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