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Wise entered London Stock Exchange without IPO and got valued at £8 bn

By Joy Dumasia

July 08, 2021

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There were 47 million trades in the first half-hour for Wise pushing the price up by 3% from the opening auction price of 800p (total trades, not trades just through HL). Shares came out of the auction at 820p before dropping slightly and then rebounding to 825p by midday. The launch has put a value of around £8 billion, a big step up from the £5 billion price tag attached to the company by private investors last July.

The unruffled start to trading should help London’s efforts to maintain its reputation as a FinTech hub as it has struggled to attract fast-growing companies keen to list. The UK has gone out of floatation fashion, with just 5% of companies delivering an IPO choosing London as the launch pad.

Direct listings are more of a level playing field for all investors. Instead of institutional investors usually being given first dibs, retail investors get an equal bite of the cherry. More direct listings would be a welcome development given that retail investors have been excluded from 97% of IPOs since 2017.

Wise has made bucking tradition and disrupting systems ever since it launched in 2011 as Transfer Wise. It now boasts 10 million customers worldwide and has been profitable for the last four years. It’s expanded from a personal peer-to-peer service to offer businesses faster payments solutions, which is an attractive feature of its growth prospects.

Recently, IBS Intelligence reported that Wise releases independent research revealing £150 billion is unknowingly spent in hidden fees on foreign currency transfers each year, to coincide with its direct listing on the London Stock Exchange.

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