Wise float set to be Square Mile’s first direct listing


Wise float set to be Square Mile’s first direct listing as well as its biggest stock market debut of the year










Financial technology star Wise has confirmed plans to float, in what is expected to be London’s biggest stock market debut of the year.

The global payments company is plotting the Square Mile’s first direct listing, meaning it will not seek to raise cash and will simply float its existing shares.

These will be valued by an auction before general trading opens up.

London listing: Wise co-founders Kristo Käärmann (pictured) and Taavet Hinrikus, as well as investors such as Richard Branson, are set to make huge windfalls when the company floats

The firm could be worth up to £9billion. Listing directly has not been used in London before.

The float is expected to net Estonian co-founders Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus, as well as investors such as Richard Branson, hundreds of millions of pounds.

Kaarmann owns a 19.8 per cent stake, documents revealed yesterday, while Hinrikus owns 11.5 per cent.

The pair could be in line for as much as £1.8billion and £1billion respectively if Wise meets expectations.

Valar, the investment vehicle of Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel, owns 10.8 per cent and US venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz owns 9.8 per cent.

Former Trainline chief executive Claire Gilmartin will also add to her personal fortune, and will sit on the board. 

Wise could attract controversy with a dual-class share structure that gives Kaarmann, Hinrikus and existing shareholders outsized voting powers compared with newcomers.

Kaarmann said: ‘A direct listing allows us a cheaper and more transparent way to broaden Wise’s ownership, aligned with our mission.’



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