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Revolut mulling acquisitions despite controversies

By Maryam Cockar, Press Association City Reporter
The fintech unicorn is going on a hiring spree to support its growth ambitions.

Revolut is to press ahead with plans to enter the deal making arena, despite the digital bank coming under pressure over a string of controversies.

The Press Association has learnt that the fast-growing fintech unicorn is embarking on a hiring spree and is looking to recruit a head of M&A.

It is one of four M&A linked positions advertised on Revolut’s website and comes as the firm looks to speed up its global expansion plans.

Tom Hambrett, head of legal at the firm, told PA that “acquisitions is definitely something that we’re open to” in order to enter new markets, but cautioned that the group still favours natural growth over acquisitive growth.

Chad West, Revolut’s head of marketing and communications, said the firm is mulling acquisitions and other opportunities as part of its ambition to “go global”.

Mr Hambrett added that Revolut has not yet identified any acquisition targets or markets, but the company is set to launch in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan this year.

Revolut is also considering providing advice to businesses as part of its corporate banking offering.

“How can we make it easier for entrepreneurs to operate? The best way to do that is by knocking out very simple suite of services that are connected to business banking.

“So, M&A is definitely one of them but it’s not just mergers and acquisitions, it’s also corporate structuring,” Mr Hambrett  added.

Revolut, which is valued around 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.3 billion), recently gained a banking a licence in Lithuania in order to conduct business in European Union states, and acquisitions could be a way to gain a foothold in other territories.

However, Mr Hambrett warned there is no one-size-fits-all approach to launching in new countries and regulatory hurdles remain.

Revolut has grown rapidly since it launched in 2015 by former investment bankers Nikolay Storonsky and Vladyslav Yatsenko, but has courted its fair share of controversy.

Last week the fintech firm lost its finance chief Peter O’Higgins as it faces accusations it broke banking rules by switching off an automatic system that stops suspicious money transactions on its platform for three months last year.

The bank’s hiring and corporate culture has also come under fire after Wired magazine reported that the company asked job applicants to work for free and demanded staff work long hours, including the weekends.

Revolut also made headlines recently after its “single-shaming” advertising campaign was referred to the Financial Conduct Authority.

Meanwhile, Revolut has also been forced to deny that it has links to the Kremlin following accusations by a Lithuanian politician that the company’s boss, Nik Storonsky, is interfering in the country’s politics.