Australia’s Afterpay considers US listing

MELBOURNE: Australian buy-now-pay-later company Afterpay said it is exploring a US listing after North America became its biggest market, offering global investors an easier path to owning a stock that has boomed through the pandemic.

Afterpay has tapped Goldman Sachs to advise on the listing, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Goldman declined to comment.

The Melbourne-based firm was last valued at nearly A$37bil (US$28.7bil or RM118.16bil) despite never having posted a profit, thanks to the coronavirus-driven surge in online shopping and rapid expansion in overseas markets including the United States.

Releasing its third-quarter results yesterday, Afterpay said North America sales had nearly tripled, overtaking Australia and helping to double the total value of transactions it processed to A$5.2bil compared with a year earlier.

A US listing would likely further open up the Australian fintech star to an investor base that lends greater weight toward growth, and also potentially provide easier access to capital to fund expansion plans.

Afterpay co-CEO Nick Molnar, who co-founded the company in 2015, told Reuters it was a “proud Australian-headquartered organisation” but a US listing could provide “attractive opportunities”.

“The prioritisation on exploring a US listing is purely around does it provide the business more operating leverage from the perspective of being present in the market that is now the greatest contributing segment... and provide us the right investor base, ” he said.

Afterpay said in a statement it planned to remain headquartered in Australia, but did not specify if a US market debut would be based on a dual-listing structure or result in it giving up its Australian berth. It also did not give a time frame.

In North America Afterpay is pitted against Affirm, Zip Co’s Quadpay, new entrant PayPal and Sweden’s Klarna, which is valued at US$31bil and looking at a direct listing in the United States. — Reuters

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