As Spotify And Coinbase, The Company Is Opting For A Direct Listing
Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is going public. The money transfer company has decided to list directly on the London Stock Exchange.
The startup was founded in 2010 by Estonian friends Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus. The duo was frustrated with the high fees users had to pay when sending money between the U.K. and Estonia. This led them to start TransferWise which carved out a new way to make cross-border transfers at more advantageous exchange rate.
The service now counts over 10m customers who send around $ 7B across borders each month. The company has been profitable since 2017 and doubled its profits to $ 43m in 2021 as sales grew 39% to $ 580m.
Wise says it will be the first London listing of a tech company directing. Direct listings prevent paying underwriting fees and potential mis-pricing of shares. Spotify, Slack and the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase have also gone public through direct listings. Wise was last privately valued at $5 billion in a second share sale.
It's a big win for London, which has been vying for more tech success stories following the exit of Britain from the EU. The U.K. regulators are currently consulting on proposals to smoothen London's listing regime and make it more attractive for tech firms to list in London.
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