Banking & Finance

Chinese Investor Increases Stake in LendingClub

Troubled peer-to-peer loan maker LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC) reported Monday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that various entities of China-based Shanda Group acquired 57.74 million shares of the company’s stock, raising the Chinese group’s stake in LendingClub to 15.13%.

Shanda had previously held a stake of 11.7% in LendingClub and was then, and now remains, the firm’s largest shareholder. Tianqiao Chen is chairman and CEO of the four Shanda companies that now jointly own the LendingClub shares.

In case you’re just returning from Mars, LendingClub’s now-former CEO, Renaud Laplanche, was forced to resign last month following an internal investigation that revealed some $22 million in loan sales were mishandled and that Laplanche failed to disclose his relationship with a third-party in which LendingClub was thinking of investing.

According to a report at The Wall Street Journal, Shanda had said it had no intention of taking an active role in the management of LendingClub after revealing its prior stake in the company. The report did not say if Shanda had changed its mind given more recent developments.

What LendingClub really needs is a buyer of its loans. Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (NYSE: OZM), Daniel Loeb’s Third Point and (George) Soros Fund Management have all talked with LendingClub about buying the company’s loans, but so far none has signed up.

Investors reacted favorably to the report, sending the stock up more than 4% in the noon hour Monday, to $5.08 in a 52-week range of $3.44 to $17.18.

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