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Wise announces direct London listing

The fintech giant, formerly known as Transferwise, was launched a decade ago.

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Wise, the fintech formerly known as Transferwise, is heading for the public markets via a direct listing in London.

Since 2017, the business has been profitable but it has also taken on fresh capital in May 2021, with a £160m line of credit from Silicon Valley Bank.

The business, founded in 2011, has long been expected to go public but speculation has centred around whether this would be via a traditional Initial Public Offering (IPO) or a direct listing or even a Special Purpose Acquisition Vehicle (SPAC). The geography of the listing has also been questioned with both London or New York touted as likely. 

Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder of Wise, said: A direct listing allows us a cheaper and more transparent way to broaden Wise’s ownership, aligned with our mission."

“We’re fixing a huge, structural problem on a global scale, and one which requires enormous discipline to solve. Operating sustainably, with a profit margin, helps us track our journey to lower prices for customers as we scale and remove costs."

The direct listing, which also uses a dual class share structure, will mean shares will subsequently be tradable on the London Stock Exchange but no new capital will be raised by Wise.

Stephen Kelly, Chair of Tech Nation, said:“True to form, Wise is doing things differently. It is opting for a direct listing and adopting a time-limited dual class share structure, something that is fairly common in the US but less so in the UK. Wise also plans to reward customers who invest in its Mission by becoming shareholders, it’s great to see a business recognise the importance of alignment between investors and customers.

Käärmann added: "A direct listing, combined with a widely available dual-class share structure, allows us to bring customers and other like-minded investors into our shareholder base, whilst keeping the focus on our deeply ingrained mission as we grow at speed."

Wise has over 500 employees in London and 2,400 globally.

More to come on this story on AltFi this morning.

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