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Planned IPO of fintech giant Interswitch off (again!)

Interswitch Nigeria has IPO off

Interswitch, Africa’s first fintech unicorn, has been forced to shelve plans for its Initial Public Offering (IPO)- for the second time.

The Nigerian fintech giant’s IPO will now likely not take place, not until at least 2021.

The company’s first attempt at listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and in Lagos was in 2016.

The fintech was all set for what could have been a historic dual-listing, one that would have seen private equity investors exit the company. Interswitch was on the verge of becoming the first VC-backed startup in Africa to rise to a tech unicorn and list on the LSE.

But the listing fell through owing to the economic recession that hit Nigeria following a massive crash in oil prices. There were also concerns that the economic crisis had weakened the naira as well as a dearth in foreign currency.

Another IPO plan

Plans to go public resurfaced again last year. The expectation was that the tech company, largely backed by Helios Investment Partners, would list in London by the end of November.

Reports at the time suggested that JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. were among firms hired to work on the IPO. Interswitch’s valuation was reportedly close to $1.5 billion.

Instead of an IPO, the tech company confirmed its unicorn status. Payments giant Visa then acquired a 20 percent stake in the Nigeria-based firm reported to be $200 million.

Gears shifted to an early 2020 date for the IPO, sources privy to the situation suggesting it would be in the first six months of 2020.

COVID-19 and the current market uncertainties have all but derailed the plans.

Interswitch is yet to comment on the postponed IPO.


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