London has become home to a number of initial public offerings (IPOs) this year as the City seeks to attract more listings from innovative companies.
A boom in firms listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSEG.L) recently powered it to the best first quarter for listings in 15 years.
At the turn of the year, the LSE sought to shorten the process for IPOs as part of a new review of its listing rules.
It is pushing for the UK government to speed up the time it takes for a company to float on the exchange which would fall more in line with current procedures on US and continental exchanges.
At the moment, IPOs take five weeks in London from publication of the registration document to a stock’s trading debut. In 2018 the UK market regulator added an extra seven days onto the process to allow unconnected analysts earlier access to information.
Technology has been the biggest driver of stock market growth over the last decade, helping to propel markets in the US to new highs. The UK has struggled to grow big tech businesses that can compete internationally. Those that have reached significant scale have mostly gone to the US to list shares publicly because of more favourable valuations and share rules there.
Here is a roundup of IPOs launched this year and those forthcoming:
Shares in British cybersecurity group Darktrace rocketed in May on their London Stock Exchange debut.
The company’s initial public offering valued it at £1.7bn ($2.3bn), which equated to 250p a share. However, within minutes of conditional trading, shares jumped to 350.4p, a rise of 38%.
Darktrace, which was founded in Cambridge in 2013, uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to spot cyber threats for businesses.
The AI is used to build what it calls an "enterprise immune system" that monitors company's computer networks to detect unusual activity and then respond to it. The technology stands in contrast to traditional cyber security software that tries to build a wall around networks to block intruders.
Pensionbee raised around £55m via the sale of 33m new shares and the sale of over 2 million existing shares.
The company is an award-winning online pension provider that has recorded over 400,000 registered customers since its inception in 2014.
Following a spike in business due to the current health crisis, PensionBee accelerated its IPO plans. The company reported a 37% growth in new active clients between March and July 2020.
Food delivery company Deliveroo (ROO.L) suffered one of the worst debuts on record in March, with shares falling 30% in the first half hour of trading, wiping more than £2bn ($2.7bn) off the company’s value.
Tens of thousands of retail investors who invested in the firm through a platform called PrimaryBid faced heavy paper losses on the back of the fall. Around 70,000 individuals put £50m into the company.
The IPO flop was also bad news for Amazon (AMZN), which is the biggest institutional investor in the business. Amazon owns just over 10% of the business.
Despite national lockdowns forcing restaurants to close their doors to the public and the number of takeaway deliveries soaring to record highs, Deliveroo is yet to make a profit.
“Not all stocks have a happy start to life on the stock market – just ask Tim Steiner or Mark Zuckerberg – but it’s not a great advert for London as a destination for tech listings,” Neil Wilson of Markets.com said at the time.
Review website Trustpilot (TRST.L) surged in its stock market debut, giving the Danish firm a valuation of £1.1bn at the time of the listing.
The IPO raised about £473m, with existing investors selling 161 million shares and the company itself issuing 17.6 million shares.
Trustpilot currently has 420,000 businesses on the free subscription service, and 26,000 paying an average of $5,600 (£3,950). Companies get a limited service for free, then can buy additional services on top. These extra services are largely analytic tools that enable them to figure out how better to serve their customers.
Watch: What are SPACs?
Online greeting card retailer Moonpig (MOON.L) saw its shares surge 25% as it made its London stock market debut in February.
The company set its share price at 350p. Shares were at around 440p shortly after they debuted on the exchange, as conditional dealings kicked off.
Moonpig has about 12 million customers and sends 45 million cards a year. In the year to April 2020, it made £44m worth of profit on the back of sales of £173m in sales.
“Apparently pigs do fly, well Moonpig did at least, with the greetings card website following on from Dr Martens’ big step forward on market debut to trade significantly higher after this morning’s float,” AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould noted.
British boots brand Dr Martens (DOCS.L) kicked off its stock market debut at the end of January attracting bumper demand in sale valuing the firm at over $5bn (£3.7bn).
Shares in the company were up as much as 19% as it began to trade in London after owner Permira Holdings and other investors raised $1.8bn.
The company famed for its black boots with the yellow stitching said that its offer was over eight times oversubscribed.
The company weathered the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic well, despite it taking a toll on the retail sector overall. Its group revenue was £318m in the six months ended 30 September 2020, a rise of 18% year-on-year.
It repaid its furlough money back to the British government in August following good financial results.
The company sells more than 11 million pairs of shoes every year in around 60 countries.
Digital 9 Infrastructure
Digital 9 Infrastructure (DGI9.L) raised £370m in an initial public offering against an initial target of £300m.
The trust, which is newly established, aims to invest in a range of digital infrastructure assets, including subsea fibre, data centres, terrestrial fibre, tower infrastructure and small cell networks.
The firm said it is targeting annual returns of 10%, with an initial dividend target of 6%.
Upcoming London IPOs
A blockbuster IPO is on the cards for British retailer EG Group, which is valued at around £10bn.
Despite EG Group’s revenue dropping from £22.4bn in 2019 to £20.7bn in 2020 due to lower fuel demand, it had an EBITDA increase of 48%.
Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, has become one of the most valuable fintech start-ups in Europe.
Having started out offering money transfer services, after being founded in 2011, its growing product range drove the firm to change its name. Wise transfers over $6bn per month to over 10 million international customers.
Ahead of its expected IPO in the second quarter of this year, the company could be valued between £4.4bn and £5.1bn. It has appointed Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) to coordinate the listing.
Watch: EQT CEO Says London IPO Changes Are 'Innovative'
Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is part of India’s Tata Motors (TTM) and has long been rumoured to be considering a stock market listing.
However, optimism surrounding JLR’s listing has dwindled as a result of delays to Brexit, declining diesel sales, a drop in Chinese demand and the coronavirus crisis.
BrewDog announced in 2018 that it is considering an IPO, and the brewer is believed to be planning a listing on the LSE.
The business is valued at about £1.5bn and has raised roughly £73m over six fundraising rounds, with the last round ending in April 2020.
Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Oxford Nanopore Technologies is a spin-off of the University of Oxford that was founded in 2005. It develops products that are used to analyse DNA, RNA, proteins and small molecules.
These products can be applied in scientific research, crop science and more.
The company also produces products that track COVID-19 variants.
By 2014, the company had raised over £250m in investment funds. Ahead of its London IPO, Oxford Nanopore Technologies is valued at £2.3bn.
Swedish plant-based milk company Oatly (OTLY) went public on the Nasdaq in May as demand for dairy-free alternatives continues to skyrocket.
The stock opened at $22.12 after pricing at the high end of estimates at $17 per share.
The firm, which has celebrity investors, such as Oprah, Jay-Z and Natalie Portman, raised $200m in investment last year. Products from the company which is backed by Blackstone are sold in over 20 countries.
The company produces milk alternatives and a range of other organic products, manufactured with individuals’ well-being and environmental sustainability top-of-mind.
In addition to its drinkable oatmilks, Oatly's portfolio includes yogurt, ice cream, and softserve made from oats.
UiPath listed on the New York Stock Exchange on 21 April. The IPO raised $1.3bn, after almost 24 million shares were sold at $56 each. As of 21 April 2021, the company is valued at $29bn, considering outstanding shares that are listed in its prospectus.
Founded as ‘DeskOver’, in 2005 UiPath has grown into an industry leader, developing business process automation technology for over 6,300 customers worldwide. Its robotic process automation (RPA) software computerises workflows to eliminate time-consuming, repetitive and tedious tasks.
Video game and user-generated content platform Roblox (RBLX) listed in March on the NYSE, reaching a valuation of $45.3bn.
On its first day of trading, the company stock shot up 54.4%, closing at $69.50.
Roblox has widespread popularity across the US, and other countries such as Brazil, Russia and Turkey, with well over 150 million active users per month.
Dating app Bumble
Dating app Bumble (BMBL) shares closed at $70.31 or 63% higher than their IPO price of $43 each. The stock opened at $76 during their public debut and soared more than 80% during the first minutes of trading. Bumble had sold 50 million shares, raising $2.15bn.
The Bumble app — on which women make the first move, was started by Whitney Wolfe Herd, co-founder of the IAC-owned Tinder. At age 31, Wolfe Herd is the youngest female CEO to take a large US company public.
Wolfe Herd told Yahoo Finance Live the strong market response likely reflects the company’s ambitions to be more than a dating app.
Watch: Bumble Sees 'Tremendous' International Growth, Says CEO
Upcoming US IPOs
Online car seller Cazoo is set to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) through a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), after securing a $7bn (£5bn) deal.
This is more than double the $2.6bn valuation in its private funding round in October.
The move, which will see the British firm merge with Ajax I, led by billionaire Dan Och, who will join the company’s board, is expected to provide Cazoo with up to $1.6bn in funding to bolster its operations across Europe.
It currently employs more than 1,800 staff members in the UK, Germany, France and Portugal, and has delivered more than 20,000 cars to consumers across the UK.
Known as “blank cheque companies,” SPACs are essentially empty cash shells — companies with no operations that are created simply to hold investor money and then spend it.
Management try to identify a company or assets to buy, thus giving the SPAC stake inherent value.
SPACs typically target deals to take private companies public. The benefit for companies that get acquired is it can be a quicker and easier way of listing on the stock market.
Robinhood has been open about its plans to list, and has recently said it is giving retail investors access to IPO shares.
The company originally started as a stock trading app but it has since expanded into other services.
It confirmed in March 2021 that it has filed its paperwork with the US SEC for its Nasdaq listing, after securing $2.4bn in its latest round of fundraising. This is said to put the company’s valuation at $40bn, which is well over triple its September 2020 valuation of $11.7bn.
Lamborghini has done well despite COVID-19 disruptions, and is rumoured to be planning an IPO in the near future. The carmaker is owned by the Volkswagen Group, which is said to also be preparing its other Italian divisions such as Ducati and ItalDesign for possible IPOs.
Lamborghini’s target valuation is rumoured to be $12bn.
With an estimated valuation of $10bn, the company is set to list on the New York Stock Exchange later on this year. Other plans for the listing include 21.3 million shares that will be offered at $23 to $24 per share and restricted shares that will be reserved for management.
Endeavor’s second attempt at an IPO comes with Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX and chief executive of Tesla (TSLA), as a board member.
Watch: Growing Acceptance for SPACs Seen, Maso Capital Says