American Express Co. is in advanced talks to buy the online small-business lender Kabbage Inc., which is backed by investors including SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund and Reverence Capital Partners, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The all-cash deal could value the closely held lender at as much as $850 million, including retention payments, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. An agreement could be announced as soon as this month, the person said, though talks could still fall apart.
Marina Norville, a spokeswoman for AmEx, and Paul Bernardini of Kabbage declined to comment.
AmEx is already the largest provider of small-business credit cards in the country. With Kabbage, it could be a bigger provider of loans to mom and pop shops as well — a strategy it’s already pursuing within its consumer-card business.