Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to purchase a $500 million stake in Brazil’s digital bank operator Nu Pagamentos SA, “as digital banking expands quickly in Latin America’s largest economy,” reports a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.
The Sao Paulo-based company, which operates via its Nubank brand, is the largest fintech in Latin America and one of the largest in the world, with 40 million users in Brazil, Mexico and Columbia, the article reports, adding that the company has raised approximately $2 billion since its inception in 2013 and that Berkshire’s will be the largest single investment it has received.
The company’s founder and chief executive David Velez said, “With this, we are very, very well capitalized; we don’t have any plans to raise any additional capital.”
The article notes that the deal comes “amid fast expansion of digital banking in Brazil, a nation of 213 million where traditional banking has for decades been concentrated in a handful of big institutions and a large part of the population is left out of the financial system.” It adds that in recent years, Brazil’s central bank has worked to increase competition through the support of financial startups willing to serve that “unbanked” population.
According to Velez, “One key focus is to continue leading the digital-banking market in Brazil, which is increasingly more competitive. Increasing digitalization, increasing use of e-commerce, all of these trends, just continue to happen irrespective of political environment or GDP growth.”