Payments processing group Wise unveiled plans to go public via a landmark direct listing on the London Stock Exchange main market.
The company, formerly known as TransferWise, has chosen not to raise any new capital and will adopt a dual-class share structure that gives existing holders enhanced rights.
Kristo Käärmann, Wise co-founder and chief executive, said a direct listing “allows us a cheaper and more transparent way to broaden Wise’s ownership”. A “widely available” dual class structure would help the company keep “the focus on our deeply ingrained mission as we grow at speed”, he said.
Wise was last year valued at $5bn in a funding round and has been reported to be aiming for a debut value of up to £9bn. The company said it has been profitable since 2017 with 54 per cent compound annual revenue growth over the past three years. For the 2021 financial year it reported a pre-tax profit of £41m on revenues of £421m.
Dr Martens revealed plans to start paying a dividend with its first full-year results as a listed company. For the year ended March the boot maker posted adjusted pre-tax profit of £151.4m on revenue up 15 per cent to £773m.
Hotelier Whitbread predicted a strong summer for tourist travel but said it does not expect office-based business to start recovering in earnest before autumn. Its total UK accommodation sales were down 60.9 per cent year on year in the first quarter ended May and its guidance for the full year was unchanged.
Halfords’ underlying pre-tax profit surged 72 per cent to £96.3m in the year ended April as the retailer grew market share in motoring services and cycling. The company said positive momentum had continued in the new year with demand for motor repairs strong and cycling demand remaining elevated. But cycle equipment shortages “remain acute”, and a return to normal trading patterns remains highly uncertain, Halfords said.
Mail-order retailer N Brown said in a first-quarter trading update that while it remains on track to meet full-year earnings expectations, its financial services revenue will be lower year on year.
Trainline said ticket sales in the first quarter ended May hit their highest level since the start of the pandemic, rising 324 per cent year on year to £334m.
Victoria Plumbing begins trading on Aim today with a debut market value of £850m. The retailer raised £11.6m of new money and £285.9m for selling shareholders with a flotation priced at 262p and will have a free float of approximately 35 per cent.
Credit Suisse’s top dealmaker in the US has quit. Greg Weinberger, who has run the mergers and acquisitions business at Credit Suisse since 2019, is latest senior employee to defect from the Swiss bank, which is battling to retain top talent following a series of scandals that have shattered employee morale. He will join Morgan Stanley later this year, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The US government has sued to block Aon’s takeover of Willis Towers Watson, threatening a $30bn deal intended to create the world’s biggest insurance broker. Together with Marsh McLennan, Aon and Willis dominate insurance broking for large companies in the US. The combination would “remake the Big Three into a Big Two”, said the Department of Justice complaint.
Alphabet-owned Waymo has raised an additional $2.5bn to fund its driverless car project as competition in the sector increases. In the past year alone Uber’s driverless group merged with Aurora, Lyft’s “Level 5” unit was sold to a division of Toyota, and Cruise, the driverless unit of GM, acquired the start-up Voyage. Waymo, which started as a Google project in 2009, raised $3.2bn from outside investors in early 2020 when it was reported to be worth $30bn.
Robert Armstrong The job of the US central bank stinks right now. Inflation is above target, employment is below target and asset prices are very high. But Jay Powell and the Federal Open Market Committee got the message just right.
Bryce Elder It will be no surprise to its customers that Made.com’s prospectus arrived late and left a lot to unpack. The prospectus blurb leans heavily on how its model of taking orders before paying suppliers delivers superior cash flow. Yet even the pandemic-fuelled home improvement boom has not been enough to prove a business that in its 11th year can turn an annual profit.