Viva Wallet acquisition turns sour for JPMorgan as lawsuits filed

Viva Wallet Group

Lawsuits are flying between JPMorgan and Viva Wallet, the European cross-border payments platform in which the US bank acquired a 49% stake last year.

According to the FT, Harry Karonis, the founder and CEO of Viva Wallet, has begun legal proceedings against the Wall Street bank over what he claims are tactics to suppress his company’s growth.

Karonis alleges JPMorgan is trying to drive down the valuation of his business by blocking its entry into the US and new European markets, according to legal documents seen by the Financial Times.

Under the terms of JPMorgan’s investment in Viva, the bank can take full control of the fintech if its value is below €5bn in June 2025.

JPMorgan, in turn, has also filed a claim against Karonis over what the bank alleges are moves to “limit or circumvent our contractual and legal rights as an investor”, according to people briefed on the situation.

This isn't the first JPMorgan fintech acquisition to turn sour. In late 2021, JPMorgan blew $175 million on student financial aid assistance company Frank. The bank has since indicted founder Charlie Javice and other key executives over allegations that they had created a list of millions of fake users to get the deal completed.

Javice has denied JPMorgan’s allegations of falsifying accounts and has filed a counterclaim accusing the bank of compromising her reputation.

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