Klarna is inching toward an IPO, and it’s not the only one

Swedish fintech Klarna confirmed that it is taking steps “toward an eventual IPO.”

The company has initiated a process for a legal entity restructuring to set up a holding company in the United Kingdom “as an important early step” in its plans for an initial public offering, a Klarna spokesperson told TechCrunch+. The move comes on the heels of a positive third quarter in which Klarna swung to a profit and reported 30% higher revenue of around $550 million.

Setting up the U.K. holding company, according to the spokesperson, is an administrative change that has been in the works for over 12 months “and does not affect anyone’s roles, nor Klarna’s Swedish operations.” Creating a new legal entity at the top of the company’s corporate structure would enable it to list on a stock exchange more easily.

“Klarna Holding will continue to be the regulated financial holding company under the direct supervision of the SFSA [Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority], and we will continue to hold a Swedish banking license. This entity would be registered in the U.K.,” the company added.

CEO and co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski last week wrote to some of Klarna’s largest 150 shareholders, with the support of the company’s board as well as venture firms Sequoia and Heartland, to ask for their agreement to create the new legal entity.

Klarna has not yet made a decision on the timing or the location of the IPO, according to sources. It chose to set up the holding company in the United Kingdom because it considers the region “a well-respected global financial market, with a legal, regulatory and capital markets framework that’s familiar” to its global investor base, those sources said.

Last week, Klarna reached an agreement with workers who were set to strike this week in the company’s home country of Sweden.

Globally, Klarna has 150 million customers, 500,000 merchant partners, about 5,000 employees. Its most recent valuation was $6.7 billion, which was down 85% from a $45.6 billion valuation it had boasted a year prior.

Earlier this year, Siemiatkowski told TechCrunch that the U.S. had become Klarna’s biggest market by revenue, surpassing Germany. Giving people the option to pay in installments (what is commonly known these days as buy now, pay later) is only one part of Klarna’s business these days, Siemiatkowski emphasized at the time. 

The app has evolved over time into what Klarna describes as “an end-to-end shopping destination” for consumers with features beyond payments such as money management tools, delivery tracking, wish lists, digital receipts and price-drop notifications.

“We’ve been stamped as a BNPL provider but that’s not true anymore — even if it was years ago. We offer tons of other use cases that are growing at a much faster pace than the original BNPL product,” Siemiatkowski said. “But the stamp is there so it takes a little time to get people to recognize the change.”

Not the only IPO on our long-term radar

Notable among the Klarna IPO chatter is the fact that it is far from the only private company worth billions that we are watching approach the public markets. It’s not even the only fintech player on the list.

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