Wise to go public on London stock exchange

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Transferwise - now Wise - co-founder and CEO Kristo Käärmann. Source: Wise

Financial technology firm Wise, formerly Transferwise, said on Thursday it expects to go public on the London stock exchange through a direct listing.

Wise said it was seeking a direct listing rather than an initial public offering as it doesn't need to raise any fresh capital. 

"Wise is used to challenging convention, and this listing is no exception. A direct listing allows us a cheaper and more transparent way to broaden Wise's ownership, aligned with our mission," its co-founder and CEO Kristo Kaarmann said according to msn.com.

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.

Sky News reported earlier this week that Wise, the international money transfer service founded by Estonian entrepreneurs, has drawn up plans to launch a direct listing on the London Stock Exchange as soon as this week.

The report said insiders expect the company's flotation to value it at up to £9 billion, or up to €10.5 billion. They added that a valuation of well above five billion British pounds, or €5.8 billion was "almost certain."

The dual class share structure would enable founders Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus and early investors to retain voting control.

As of March 31, Kaarmann holds 19.83 percent and Hinrikus 11.75 percent of shares in Wise. If the Estonian founders' expectations regarding the company's value should prove correct, the value of Kaarmann's holding would grow to £1.8 billion or €2.08 billion and that of Taavet Hinrikus would increase to £1.06 billion or €1.24 billion, Postimees reported. 

Kaarmann and Hinrikus founded the company in 2011.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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