Employees at fintech giant Revolut to cash in with $500m share sale

Business

Bosses at Revolut, Britain’s biggest fintech, are drawing up plans to allow employees to cash in with a sale of stock valued at hundreds of millions of pounds.

Sky News has learnt that the banking and payments services provider is lining up investment bankers to coordinate a secondary share sale worth in the region of $500m (£394m).

Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street bank, is expected to be engaged to work on the proposed stock offering, which will take place later this year.

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City sources said this weekend that Nik Storonsky, Revolut’s co-founder and chief executive, was determined to seek a valuation of at least the $33bn (£26bn) it secured in a primary funding round in 2021.

“This will not be a down-round,” said one person familiar with Revolut’s thinking.

Although the fintech, which has more than 40 million customers, is not planning to raise new capital as part of the transaction, any sizeable share sale will still be closely watched across the global fintech sector.

It is expected to be restricted to company employees.

Revolut ranks among the world’s largest financial technology businesses, with revenue virtually doubling last year to around £1.7bn, according to figures expected to be published in the coming months.

Founded in 2015, it has experienced a string of regulatory and compliance challenges, with reports last year highlighting its release of funds from accounts flagged by the National Crime Agency as suspicious.

The company’s growth has taken place at breakneck speed, with customer numbers soaring from 16.4m at the point of the Series E fundraising nearly three years ago.

Pic: Revolut
Image:
The company’s growth has taken place at breakneck speed. Pic: Revolut

Insiders argued that despite the protracted downturn in tech valuations over the last two years, Revolut’s relentless expansion would easily justify it maintaining its status as Britain’s most valuable fintech.

Monzo, the UK-based digital bank, recently confirmed a Sky News story that it had closed a funding round worth nearly £500m, including backing from an arm of Google’s owner, Alphabet, and a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund.

Elsewhere, however, the funding landscape has been bleaker, with a growing number of tech companies which had attracted unicorn valuations of more than $1bn now struggling to stay afloat.

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Revolut has allotted stock options to many of its 10,000 employees as part of their compensation packages, although it was unclear how many would be eligible to dispose of equity in the transaction later this year.

A source close to the company said it had had numerous expressions of interest from prospective investors.

Revolut’s current shareholders include SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Tiger Global.

News of the proposed share sale comes as Revolut’s investors continue to await positive news about its application for a UK banking licence.

A smartphone displays a Revolut logo on top of banknotes
Image:
Revolut applied for a UK banking licence more than three years ago. Pic: Reuters

The company applied to regulators to become a bank in Britain more than three years ago, but has so far failed to secure approval.

Mr Storonsky has been publicly critical of the delay, and last year questioned the approach of British regulators and politicians, as he suggested that he would not contemplate a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

An initial public offering of Revolut appears to still be some way off, although it would not surprise investors or industry peers if it initiated a listing process in the next couple of years.

One person close to Revolut said board members were among those expected to participate in the secondary share sale, although further details were unclear this weekend.

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The company is chaired by Martin Gilbert, the City veteran who has faced governance and performance challenges at Assetco, the London-listed asset manager he runs.

Its other directors include Michael Sherwood, the former Goldman Sachs executive who was jointly responsible for its operations outside the US and who was regarded as one of the most skilled traders of his generation.

An external shareholder in the company said the exclusion of non-employees from the deal could draw criticism from some investors.

Revolut has conducted secondary share sales of this kind in the past, including after its 2021 Series E round.

This weekend, Revolut declined to comment.

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