One of the largest private US financial technology firms is making its first overseas expansion by purchasing Noddle, a Leeds-based credit report business.
Credit Karma, which provides services such as free credit reports, price comparison and tax preparation, is buying Noddle for an undisclosed sum from TransUnion, another US group.
Nichole Mustard, Credit Karma co-founder and chief revenue officer, said entering the UK was “a natural first step” toward its “much larger expansion goals”. Ms Mustard said the group expected to see “substantial growth” in Noddle’s business, which currently has about 4m users. It plans to almost triple its number of UK employees over the next 12 months, to around 100.
“What we found in the US and Canada is that [financial information] is a very relevant need for a large section of the population — we’re working to a plan that much more than 4m people are going to want access here.”
Ms Mustard said the company would remain on the lookout for further potential acquisitions outside of North America to provide a bridgehead into new markets.
“Starting with 4m people really matters — getting to scale in this business is really critical for the brand and for the businesses and relationships that you have — it’s one of those critical things that earns you the right to talk to partners and consumers to do more sophisticated things.”
Credit Karma currently has 85m users in the US and Canada, and generates revenues by analysing users’ credit reports to suggest products such as personal loans. The company takes a fee from banks when a customer takes out a product it recommends, and says it has been profitable since 2015. It was valued at about $4bn in a secondary share sale earlier this year, making it one of the world’s 10 most valuable private fintechs, according to CBInsights.
The company has been touted as a likely candidate for a stock market flotation soon, but Ms Mustard said overseas expansion was “not a checkbox on the road toward an IPO”. Monday’s deal follows Transunion’s £1bn purchase of Noddle’s parent company Callcredit earlier this year. Ms Mustard said TransUnion and Credit Karma had worked together for several years, and Noddle’s consumer-facing focus made Credit Karma a more appropriate long-term owner for the business.