Klarna in talks with banks for IPO at $20 billion value

Buy now pay later firm eyeing US for its listing

Klarna, the Swedish fintech that was once Europe’s most valuable startup, is moving forward with plans for a potential US listing that could be one of the largest listings this year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Stockholm-based buy-now-pay-later giant has recently started having detailed discussions with investment banks to work on an initial public offering that could happen as early as the third quarter, the people said. Klarna is considering seeking a valuation of around $20 billion (€18.4 billion), the people said.

Deliberations are ongoing and details of the offering such as valuation and timing could change, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. A spokesman for Klarna declined to comment.

A listing would potentially turn the page on a difficult chapter for the business, which has seen conflicts among its backers and a retreat from an eye-popping pandemic-era valuation.

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Sequoia Capital, one of Klarna’s major backers, was embroiled in a boardroom battle rooted in a dispute between two of its co-founders. Sequoia was calling for the resignation of the firm’s chairman, Michael Moritz, but days later, the venture capital firm reversed course and replaced its own board representative instead.

Klarna’s valuation reached a staggering $45.6 billion in a 2021 round before falling to $6.7 billion the following year, as rising interest rates forced investors to reconsider backing online lending platforms.

Chief executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski told BNN Bloomberg in January that a US IPO was likely to happen “quite soon”, noting that the country is Klarna’s largest market by revenue, with over 37 million customers. The comments came after the company notched its first profitable quarter overall, following almost four years of losses. Klarna has been profitable in the US for four consecutive quarters.

Speculation that Klarna could also trade in the UK or its home market of Sweden has been rife. In November, the buy-now-pay-later firm set up a new UK holding company in what was seen as the preparatory work for an eventual listing.

Founded in 2005, Klarna offers credit to about 150 million shoppers globally looking to spread the cost of online purchases over multiple weeks, according to its website. It handles around 2 million transactions per day across 45 countries, the website shows. --Bloomberg