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Latham & Watkins Advises on the Direct Listing of Wise

July 7, 2021
High-profile transaction represents the first direct listing of a tech company on the London Stock Exchange.

Latham & Watkins has advised Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Barclays Bank as lead financial advisers and Citigroup as co-adviser on the direct listing of Wise, a London-based fintech payments company, on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The transaction represents the first direct listing of a tech company on the LSE to date. Upon admission, Wise’s market capitalisation was approximately £8 billion, representing the largest listing in London in recent years and the largest listing by a technology company in London. 

The transaction featured numerous innovative features, including a bespoke opening auction developed by the LSE to manage the initial buy and sell orders, a liquidity provision arrangement whereby existing shareholders provided a supply of shares for sale in the initial auction, and no lock-up restrictions for certain existing shareholders. In addition, Wise launched its OwnWise programme to reward its customers who buy Wise shares after admission.

The Latham team was led by London corporate partner James Inness, with London US capital markets partner Ryan Benedict, New York partner Greg Rodgers, and London associates Sean Meehan and Nick Fisher. Advice on regulatory matters was provided by London partner Rob Moulton.