By Wednesday, LendingClub had touched an all-time intraday low of $3.95, for a market cap of $1.5 billion. That is a world away from the $10.3 billion peak reached just after its IPO. For comparison, LendingClub's current valuation is roughly 14 times estimated 2017 earnings vs. Wells Fargo's is 11.2 times.
Potential suitors include rivals such as Prosper Marketplace and Social Finance (known as SoFi), which both have experienced CEOs that could fill the void left by Laplanche and may be lured by both synergies and scale. Notably, the duo have private market valuations well north of LendingClub's current worth at $1.9 billion and $4 billion, respectively.Other interested buyers could include banks such as JPMorgan Chase or Wells Fargo, which trade at roughly 9.7 and 11.2 times 2017 earnings, respectively, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Large banks may deem it worthwhile to snag LendingClub for its ability to originate loans at a time when many banks are striving to drive loan growth, and as physical branches are being disintermediated by online alternatives.