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Wise confirms plans for direct listing

Wise confirms plans for direct listing

Money transfer firm Wise is to go public via a direct listing on the London Stock Exchange.

The much-anticipated move was revealed by co-founder Kristo Käärmann, who says the firm will opt for a dual class share structure, giving its founders and employees extra voting rights for their shares and allowing them to retain control after going public.

The firm will also introduce a customer shareholder programme called OwnWise, which would let users own a stake in the company.

Founded in 2010, Wise claims 10 million customers who use its money transfer service to send £5 billion each month. Revenue grew at a compound annual rate of 54% to reach £421 million in its latest financial year. Profit before tax for the year more than doubled to £41 million compared to the prior year.

Wise is also stepping further into core banking territory with its borderless bank account. The company has issued more than 1.6 million debit cards and customers held £3.7 billion in deposits as at 31 March 2021 across 56 different currencies in Wise accounts.

"Businesses now use us to manage their cash flow, pay suppliers, and get paid all over the world," says Käärmann. "And by building this infrastructure for consumers and businesses, we’ve created a service over API that more than a dozen banks and enterprises use today.

The listing is expected to give Wise a valuation anywhere between $6 billion and $12 million. The firm's most recent funding round valued the company at $5 billion.

Says Käärmann: "At the time of becoming a public company, it’s easy to get distracted by evaluating revenue and profits and debating a share price. But for us, this moment is about our customers finally being able to become owners of Wise."

Wise is being advised by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Citigroup.

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