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                        Transactions

                        March 2020
                        Barcelona, Spain
                        has agreed to be acquired by
                        Bologna, Italy


                        Background

                        Strands is an exciting FinTech company with offices in Spain, Buenos Aires, Miami and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that develops a cloud-based, white-labeled personal financial and business financial management software for the global banking industry, with more than 700 implementations at banks (Tier 1 to Tier 4) in 36 countries to date. The company leverages its expertise in AI-powered predictive analytics, open API, and big data processing in order to create highly-customizable money management software that empowers people and small and medium-sized businesses to be smarter with their money.

                        Strands’ board of directors engaged Marlin & Associates to help them evaluate their strategic and financial options in order to provide liquidity to long-time investors, including BBVA. This transaction was signed with a seller based in Spain – and the ultimate buyer based in Italy: two countries deep in the midst of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, both suffering catastrophic human losses, intense unrest, and severe financial market turbulence. These two companies were able to negotiate and agree on terms, conduct due diligence reviews, and complete their transaction during the most severe disruption to economic activities since the Great Depression of the 1930s.



                        M&A used their combined international transaction and operations expertise in banking technology in collaboration with the company’s management team to refine materials that clearly communicated the strength and depth of the company’s product offerings, strong competitive positioning, and impressive financial profile. 

                        M&A then worked with Management to identify and solicit indications of interest from a select group of both strategic industry players and financial sponsors. This resulted in multiple competitive inbound offers, which M&A worked with Strands’ board to assess. 

                        M&A then negotiated with the candidates to increase their offers while the management team and board vetted the interested parties and met with their representatives. After a careful review of their options, Management agreed to sell the company to CRIF, a Bologna, Italy based business information and credit solutions specialist.

                        Marlin & Associates acted as the strategic and financial advisor to Strands on its sale to CRIF. M&A leveraged its deep domain expertise in banking technology to conduct a methodical, disciplined and competitive process simultaneously involving multiple potential acquirers. 

                        M&A helped Management and the Board to prepare key materials, define buyer categories, create a customized approach, evaluate the competing offers, negotiate terms, manage the due diligence review process, and close a transaction with CRIF. Negotiations were more challenging than usual as they were conducted during the height of the COVID-19 health pandemic. fortunately all parties worked together to forge a win-win solution. 

                        "Their strategic guidance and financial advice were crucial to successfully manage the different interested companies in the bid, always hearing the preference of our management team for CRIF."  said Erik Brieva, CEO of Strands

                        CRIF Signs Agreement to Acquire Strands

                        March 30, 2020

                        BOLOGNA (ITALY) AND BARCELONA (SPAIN) MARCH, 30 2020

                        CRIF signs agreement for the acquisition of 100% of Strands Inc. to create a worldwide digital solutions provider for open banking business

                        CRIF announces an agreement to acquire the total shareholding of Strands, a FinTech company specialized in advanced digital banking solutions. The closing of the deal is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

                        Strands, based in the US, is one of the top global providers of AI-driven Business and Personal Financial Management with offices in Spain, Asia and South America.

                        Experts in Big Data, A.I. and Machine Learning since 2004, Strands creates highly-customizable digital money management software (BFM, PFM and more) for top-tier financial institutions worldwide, and empowers people to be smarter with their money. Moreover, Strands has carried out more than 700 implementations to date globally.

                        Already partners for financial management solutions, both companies have invested in advanced Open Banking and Digital Economy solutions.

                        The combination between Strands and CRIF will create a strong worldwide digital solutions provider in access to account, account aggregation, and AI-powered BFM and PFM solutions, with new synergies in terms of expertise, solutions and offerings. It will allow further development of an ecosystem of innovative and end-to-end open banking solutions for banks and financial institutions, helping them to evolve their offerings and to boost their business through digital channels, with a constant focus on sustainability and customer needs.

                        “Strands is trusted by more than 700 financial institutions and over 100 million banking consumers as a key part of the financial ecosystem, and together with CRIF can support the rapid growth of digital banking services. Strands' mission is to enable banks to anticipate customer needs and proactively suggest next-best-actions, and we are excited about this opportunity to continue delivering on that promise”, said Erik Brieva, CEO of Strands.

                        “We are happy to announce the agreement for the acquisition of Strands that will allow CRIF to create a worldwide digital solutions provider for open banking. Through this deal, CRIF will combine its market knowledge and expertise with an innovative and well positioned Fintech player, creating synergies that will help our global clients to keep on growing and innovating through their digital transformation journey”, commented Carlo Gherardi, Chairman of CRIF.

                         

                        About Strands

                        Strands is a FinTech software company which develops AI-driven solutions for banks and financial institutions to help increase customer engagement and generate new revenue through digital channels.

                        With the mission of improving the bank-client relationship, Strands draws on its more than 15 years’ experience in Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence, developing highly-personalized digital money management solutions that empower people and SMEs to better manage their lives and business, and make smarter financial decisions.

                        Founded in Corvallis (Oregon, US) and Barcelona (Spain) in 2004, Strands has a strong presence in North and Latin America, Europe and Asia, and has collaborated on more than 700 digital banking implementations worldwide. For more information: www.strands.com

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