Thursday 17 June 2021 10:20 am

Fintech firm Wise confirms plans for London stock market float

Fintech favourite Wise has confirmed plans to go public in what will be the first direct listing of a tech firm in London.

The payments group, formerly known as Transferwise, said it has been profitable since 2017 and sales hit £421m this year. In 2021 the app moved £54.4bn across borders for 6m customers.

The float could reportedly value the company at as much as £9bn, in what would be the biggest debut of the year.

The listing is expected to be finalised on 5 July with the company aiming for a freefloat of at least 25 per cent, a bookrunner on the deal said.

“Wise is used to challenging convention, and this listing is no exception,” said co-founder and chief executive Kristo Kaarmann.

“A direct listing allows us a cheaper and more transparent way to broaden Wise’s ownership, aligned with our mission,” he added.

Wise will employ a dual class share structure for the float, saying it wants to bring customers and “other like-minded investors” into its shareholder base.

The float will come as a major boost to London’s IPO scene as the capital looks to boost its reputation as a destination for tech companies.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is pushing for reforms to London’s listing rules to help make it more attractive to prospective newcomers.

This status has been in doubt after the disastrous stock market debut of Deliveroo earlier this year, which is thought to have made firms more wary about listing in the capital.

Wise’s float will also come at a volatile time for IPOs more widely, with several stock market listings cancelled in recent weeks.

But Wise, which was founded in 2010 by Kaarmann, a former consultant at PwC and Deloitte, and fellow Estonian Taavet Hinrikus, has been widely hailed as one of London’s tech success stories.

Stephen Kelly, chair of industry body Tech Nation, said: “I hope Wise has opened an alternative avenue to the public markets for other UK technology businesses to ensure we have a thriving tech scene for decades to come.

“The UK needs more poster-children and role models to inspire the next generation and it is good to see Wise live its values joining the London listing family.”

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays are lead advisers on the listing.