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October 1, 2021updated 14 Nov 2021 1:57pm

Ex Klarna executive on Nasdaq float: ‘Not sure why they’re doing it’

By Eric Johansson

The fintech world has wondered for years when Klarna, Europe’s most valuable private tech company, will file for a public float. However, a recent Nasdaq move by CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski has left a former executive puzzled.

Mikael Wintzell served as Klarna’s deputy chief commercial officer between 2014 and 2015, having served for three and a half years at the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) giant in total, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Since 2016, Wintzell has served as the founder of seed investment firm Wellstreet, which has invested in ventures like banking platform Aura Banking Cloud and digital energy startup Tibber.

Speaking with the Breakit podcast, Wintzell confessed to having been left perplexed by the Klarna CEO’s latest public float plans.

Siemiatkowski and his wife Nina Siemiatkowski revealed earlier this week that they planned to float their private investment company Flat Capital on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market.

Flat Capital owns shares in Klarna, Budbee and Truecaller. With the listing, the company aims to issue new B shares and “give more people the opportunity for exposure to unlisted firms that would otherwise be challenging to access,” according to a press release.

However, Wintzell is still unconvinced about the Klarna boss’ floatation initiative.

“I do welcome the initiative to give more entrepreneurs access to capital,” he told Breakit. “However, I don’t understand why they have to be on the stock exchange. It’s a bit odd. It’s difficult to see how the advantages with a listing would exceed the challenges that being listed would actually entail.”

He then clarified: “You list to access capital and to create liquidity. Is this investment company in need of that? No, not with those owners.”

Klarna achieved a $45.6bn valuation on the back of a $639m SoftBank-led investment round in June, making it Europe’s most valuable privately owned tech company.

But even before that, Siemiatkowski was constantly barraged by questions about when the fintech behemoth would file for an initial public listing (IPO). In August, he said in an interview that while a Klarna float was becoming more and more plausible, an IPO is not in the cards quite yet.

Klarna and other BNPL companies have benefited from the pandemic and the simultaneously surge of online shopping.

The sector is set to grow in the years to come. Recent GlobalData thematic research estimates that the sector will be worth $166bn by 2023.

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GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.