London-based online money transfer service, TransferWise, has asked investment banks to pitch in the new year for roles on an impending initial public offering (IPO).
Key details of the company’s prospective public markets debut have yet to be finalised.
London is said to be the preferred listing destination of its founders, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann, as reported on Sky News.
Goldman Sachs is understood to be well-placed for a leading role on the deal.
A special purpose acquisition company (Spac) is also likely to be an option for TransferWise given its popularity by tech companies this year. Paysafe recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange at a $9 billion valuation through a Spac.
TransferWise was valued at $5 billion (£3.7bn) in a secondary fundraising just five months ago. An IPO is unlikely to take place until well into 2021.
Insiders say its valuation is likely to be in excess of the figure achieved in July, even before any new funds are included from the sale of new equity.
The London Stock Exchange and Downing Street are desperate to convince TransferWise’s founders to list in the UK.
According to Sky News, UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosted a call on 18 December, with the bosses of some of the UK’s “most prized tech companies”. This included Deliveroo, Oxford Nanopore and Revolut – as part of a charm offensive to sell the City’s credentials to the sector.
Kaarmann, TransferWise’s chief executive, was among those in attendance.
Some of those who joined the call, such as Darktrace, Deliveroo and Trustpilot, have already hired bankers in preparation for going public
TransferWise is seen as a particularly important company to persuade to float in London because of its rapid international growth and record of innovation in key areas of financial services.
The business employs well over 2000 people, boasts more than 9 million customers and has £4.5 billion in monthly cross-border transaction volumes.
In July, D1 Capital Partners, which has placed substantial bets on some of the world’s biggest tech companies bought a $200 million stake from other TransferWise investors.
That deal came in the wake of TransferWise securing a licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to offer investment products.
However, the firm has no plans to become a fully-fledged bank that would compete with the likes of Monzo, Revolut or Starling, in the UK.
A flotation would make both of the founders “paper billionaires” if estimates of the size of their shareholdings in TransferWise are correct. They are thought to own roughly 40% between them.
While they have been open about the idea of an IPO being a natural long-term option for the company, they have made it clear that there has been no pressure on them to accelerate their plans.
The surge in tech flotations, particularly in the US, is said to have persuaded the founders and some of their shareholders that it is an optimal time to go public.