Singapore-based private investment firm Shanda Group led Chinese billionaire Tianqiao Chen reported that Chen has raised his stake again in online lending platform Lending Club Corp following the recent ouster of founder and Chief Executive Renaud Laplanche.
According to Reuters, Chen increased his Lending Club shares to 15.13 percent in Lending Club as of June 16, up from 11.7 percent reported on May 11, notably two days after Laplanche resigned during an internal investigation.
Building on speculation that Lending Club is priming itself for a potential acquisition, the lender has been referenced that it is buying more of its own loans. In addition, Laplanche has also reportedly been in discussions with banks and private equity groups about financing a bid for the beleaguered platform.
Chen’s purchases appeared to be an opportunity to take advantage of the discount in the price of the company. At this writing Lending Club shares are trading at $5.00 and is valued at about $1.9B.
Reuters noted that Chen, “China’s answer to Bill Gates,” made a name for himself as an online gaming magnate after launching Shanda Interactive. With an initial investment of $60,000 in the late 1990s, the business dominated in the fantasy gaming sector.