Wise confirms direct listing on London Stock Exchange at estimated £9bn value
Payments and FX fintech Wise (formerly TransferWise) has underlined its commitment to join the London stock market this week.
The listing, likely to be one of the largest seen in 2021, is expected to value Wise at upwards of £9 billion.
Wise plans to list directly on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), a strategy which enables the market to find the right level of value. It will be the first of its kind for a technology firm on the LSE.
Rumours of the listing started swirling in March this year. The company is working with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Wise also plans to establish a customer shareholder programme, OwnWise, which will reward customers joining as shareholders after admission to “support its long-term mission”.
It will provide participants with the chance to receive bonus shares in Wise, representing 5% of the value of the shares they buy and hold for at least 12 months.
“Wise is used to challenging convention, and this listing is no exception,” says Kristo Käärmann, Wise CEO and co-founder.
“A direct listing allows us a cheaper and more transparent way to broaden Wise’s ownership, aligned with our mission.”
Käärmann adds that a direct listing, combined with “a widely available dual class share structure”, can let Wise bring “customers and other like-minded investors” into its shareholder base.
TransferWise to Wise
The firm, founded in 2011, originally started as a money transfer service between international consumers.
Since then, the fintech has raised more than $1 billion in funding across 12 rounds. It also has some nine million customers.
The fintech, which now employs 2,200 people, landed a $3.5 billion valuation in 2019. It then hit a valuation of $5 billion in July 2020, following a $319 million liquidity round.
The same year, Wise landed a licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to offer retail investment services in the UK.
While the company has made little noise about a transition into full-fledged banking, it did nab an Australian banking licence in December.