Nasdaq to buy financial fraud detection Verafin for $2.75bn

Verafin’s headquarters will remain in St. John’s, and its executive leadership team will continue to run the company,

FILE PHOTO: A woman's umbrella turns inside out as she walks past the Nasdaq MarketSite during a snow storm in Times Square, New York, March 20, 2015.   REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo
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Nasdaq agreed to acquire Verafin, a provider of technology that fights financial fraud and money laundering, for $2.75 billion in cash.

Verafin, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, provides a cloud-based platform that helps customers detect and report financial crimes, according to a statement on Thursday. Its current clients include 2,000 banks and credit unions in North America, and Nasdaq aims to expand those services to the largest banks and second-tier institutions, including in Europe.

“Financial crime, including money laundering, is among the biggest and most difficult challenges that banks face around the world,” Nasdaq chief executive Adena Friedman said in a presentation. “Regulators are becoming more demanding of banks, brokerages, FinTechs and other financial intermediaries as the frontline defense against criminals using the financial system to fund their illicit activities.”

About $2 trillion is laundered a year, and the $12.5bn market for combating financial crime is expected to grow 17 per cent through 2024, Nasdaq said. The purchase fits a strategy laid out at the company’s investor day earlier this month, when Ms Friedman said it was seeking acquisitions to provide more software and analytics to the financial industry.

Many banks are using old systems that aren’t very effective at detecting money laundering and financial crime, Valerie Bannert-Thurner, a senior vice president at Nasdaq, said in an interview. “It’s such a big problem, fines are huge and it’s a big worry for CEOs for banks, and it has to be solved better.”

Evercore was lead financial adviser to Nasdaq, along with JPMorgan Chase & Co. Verafin was advised by William Blair & Co.

Verafin’s headquarters will remain in St. John’s, and its executive leadership team will continue to run the company, according to the statement. The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

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