Klarna CEO “nervous” about IPO amid market volatility

Klarna chief executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski has said that the buy now pay later (BNPL) lender is likely to wait for the volatile market to settle before going public.

“The volatility in the market right now makes me nervous to IPO to be honest,” he told CNBC.

“I think it would be nice to IPO when it’s a little bit more sound, and right now it doesn’t feel really sound out there.”

Klarna is one of the BNPL spaces’ biggest players, being used by 87 million shoppers worldwide last year, 15 million of them in the UK.

“We want to challenge traditional banking incumbents, that would apply to everything we do and would include also a listing,” Siemiatkowski told Bloomberg in August.

BNPL accounted for 2.1 per cent, equivalent to $97 billion of global ecommerce transactions last year, according to Worldpay.

Klarna is currently valued at $46 billion, making it the space’s most valuable pure play firm, in front of rivals Afterpay and Affirm.

READ MORE: Klarna sees losses skyrocket 155% in “record second quarter”

Despite the major success of Klarna during the pandemic, Siemiatkowski is not in any rush to list the company publicly as of yet.

“It’s more likely to happen soon than it was a few years ago, but we have no immediate plans,” he said.

The main purpose of floating would be to give its long-time backers and employees the chance to cash in their shares Siemiatkowski added.

Some of Klarna’s private investors include Japanese tech firm SoftBank, Chinese fintech behemoth Ant Group and American rapper Snoop Dogg.

Siemiatkowski revealed the company hasn’t yet decided on where to list, however he likes the London market due to “the amount of expertise and the quality of the regulators” and “the fact that the UK’s a neutral place in the world.”

Despite his admiration for London’s market, Siemiatkowski said he was cautious as he’s not sure that the capital’s institutional investors have a good enough understanding of high-growth tech companies such as Klarna.

He used Deliveroo’s disastrous IPO as an example, where the delivery firm’s share price tumbled 30 per cent on the first day of trading.

“I don’t think what happened to Deliveroo is entirely fair,” he added.

“I think there were some aspects of that where it was misunderstood, and I think maybe it would have fared better in the U.S. as a consequence of that.”

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