U.K. Fintech Wise Makes Strong Debut in London Direct Listing

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Wise PLC’s shares made a strong trading debut in London Wednesday, as investors bet on the online money-transfer service’s ability to win business from established banks.

The U.K.-based fintech, formerly known as TransferWise, closed its first day of trading with a market valuation of about £8.75 billion, equivalent to around $12 billion. That compares with market expectations of $6 billion to $7 billion ahead of the anticipated public listing, according to a person familiar with the matter. Wise didn’t disclose a targeted valuation. Wise closed at £8.80 a share.

Founded a decade ago, the company aims to make transferring money across borders easier and less expensive. It has grown revenue in each of its last three fiscal years and tripled profit over that period to £30.9 million.

The listing underscores the strong appetite among investors for new stock market entrants. IPOs globally raised a total of $331 billion in the first six months of 2021, more than four times the $75 billion raised in the year ago period, according to Dealogic. London, in particular, saw volumes surge to almost $14 billion from $668 million over the same period.

Customers use Wise to transfer money, get paid and buy goods in different countries. Its popularity has grown along with the rise of e-commerce, which increasingly involves businesses selling goods across borders.

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