Technology and consumer internet listings have accounted for more than 50% of total capital raised through IPOs in the first half of the year, according to the London Stock Exchange - but this particular listing, a direct listing, is a real coup for the fintech sector and for London, cementing its position as one of the leading global tech hubs. Rather than raising money, a direct listing does not involve the issuance of new shares or the raising of fresh capital. Existing shares are sold to the public (a method some say was pioneered by Spotify in 2018). There is no pricing process and the share price is determined by the market once listing occurs.
Wise’s decision to list with a dual-class share structure — which gives founders and early investors enhanced voting rights may prove controversial for some investors, although Wise said its dual-class shares are structured in such a way that no existing shareholder will hold more than half of the voting rights. U.K. regulators are currently consulting on proposals to relax London’s listing regime to make it more attractive for tech firms to list in the capital; others rumoured to be waiting in the wings include Klarna, Checkout.com, WorldRemit, Trustly and Allfunds who are all thought to be looking to list in the not too distant future (see my previous post about Klarna).
Direct listings have been growing in popularity among technology groups in the US such as Spotify, Coinbase and Roblox, and executives are hoping Wise will pave the way for more in London