A security guard stands in front of the London Stock Exchange building on December 29, 2020.
Tolga Akmen | AFP via Getty Images
LONDON – Online reviews website Trustpilot made its public debut on Tuesday and became the latest tech company to list for the city of London in a busy year.
The Danish company’s shares rose up to 16% from the offer price of £ 2.65 ($ 3.65) on Tuesday, giving the company a valuation of £ 1.1 billion. The IPO raised a total of around £ 473 million, with existing investors selling 161 million shares and the company itself issuing 17.6 million shares.
Trustpilot’s listing comes a day after Deliveroo set a price range for its own highly anticipated float that would give the UK unicorn a £ 8.8 billion high-end rating for food delivery. The first trading day of the Amazon-supported company is expected to take place on April 7, according to the IPO prospectus.
According to Reuters, this is likely the UK’s largest IPO since Glencore’s initial public offering almost a decade ago. Moonpig, the online card retailer, went public last month with a value of £ 1.2 billion.
London-based online pension platform PensionBee announced plans on Monday to be listed in the UK capital. TransferWise money transfer app and cybersecurity firm Darktrace are expected to go public in London later this year.
The flood of tech listings is set to give London financial markets a boost amid fears that the city could lose ground to other European financial centers like Amsterdam after Brexit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is preparing a revision of the London listing rules. A review commissioned by the UK Treasury asked London to allow companies to list dual-tier stocks on the premium segment of the stock market.
It seemed sufficient to give Deliveroo the confidence to be listed in the UK when the company announced its IPO plans for London the day after the report’s recommendations were published. Deliveroo opted for a two-class share structure that gives its CEO Will Shu additional voting rights for three years.
“Everyone was talking about Amsterdam until this listing change was proposed,” Sten Saar, CEO of digital insurance company Zego, told CNBC. “Everyone slowed down in Amsterdam to check out the opportunity in London.”
“Several company founders who may be thinking of getting listed in Europe are now rethinking these things for London,” added Saar, a former CEO of Deliveroo.
The City of London also wants to become a destination for SPACs, or special purpose vehicles, which have become commonplace on Wall Street.
SPACs, also known as blank check companies, are essentially shell companies that are publicly listed to acquire a privately held company. High-growth technology companies are common goals for SPACs.
Although 2020 was a banner year for US-listed SPACs, the UK missed the boom. One of the main reforms recommended in the UK Listing Review is to allow SPACs that are structured similarly to the US. A common complaint about London-listed SPACs is that trading will be suspended as soon as an acquisition agreement is announced.
However, there are concerns that SPACs may be stuck in a bubble, as U.S.-listed blank check companies raised around $ 88 billion to date in 2021, down $ 83.4 billion in issuance in three last year Months have passed.
Johnny Boufarhat, CEO of UK virtual events start-up Hopin, said “people keep trying to sell him the idea” of going public through a SPAC, but he has yet to be convinced.
“I have no idea where it came from or why we would be doing this,” he added. Earlier this month, Hopin hit a valuation of $ 5.65 less than two years after its inception.
Zegos Saar said his company had no immediate plans for a listing but warned that merging with a SPAC “doesn’t make sense for any company to do so”. Zego recently raised $ 150 million at a valuation of $ 1.1 billion.
David Schwimmer, CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group, told CNBC earlier this month that there were signs of “froth” in the US market, warning that the SPAC surplus “could end badly” for investors.