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SPAC/IPO Listings Take On International Flavor As India’s Paytm Dominates Pipeline

Listings and listing announcements this past week, across initial public offerings (IPOs) and special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), took on a decidedly international flavor.

Among the biggest announcements: India payments behemoth Paytm is targeting a $2.2 billion IPO in India at a valuation of $25 billion. And as reported, the firm’s planned IPO will be one of the largest stock market listings in India.

In our own read-through of the company’s listing document, we noted that the company’s payment services, commerce and cloud services and financial services reached 333 million consumers and over 21.1 million merchants as of the end of the latest financial year, on March 31, 2021. In reference to payments, the company said that its GMV was 4 trillion rupees ($54 billion).

The Paytm listing brings the number of payments-focused announced public offerings to 22 year to date, as calculated by PYMNTS.

Elsewhere, Zenvia, a platform company based in Brazil and focused on customer experiences, said it had filed to list in the U.S., on the tech-heavy Nasdaq exchange, with plans to raise $162 million. Renaissance Capital reported that the midpoint of its stated pricing range would value the company at about $548 million.

Turning to SPAC activity, Global Technology Acquisition I, a blank check company that will target software as a service (SaaS), FinTech, and marketplaces, filed earlier in the week to raise as much as $150 million.

Bullish, a tech company focused on the digital assets sector, said it would go public through a merger with Far Peak Acquisition Company — and that it plans to launch a regulated cryptocurrency exchange that, according to the announcement, will help investors generate “deep, predictable liquidity for investors to generate yield from their digital assets.” The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Robinhood, Redux 

As had been reported earlier in this space — and as proof of the continuing appeal of platform-focused listings — Robinhood is aiming to go public at valuation that could reach $40 billion. The name, of course, is not without its controversy as retail investing fully enters the digital age (social media included). The company is under numerous investigations. Growth has been a hallmark of the company, where Robinhood said it had 18 million net funded accounts, up from 12.5 million a year ago in March. Assets under custody were $80 billion, up from $19.2 billion. Within the assets under custody, cryptos came in at $11.6 billion over $481 million in March 2020.

Tom Mason, senior analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, told PYMNTS in a written exchange that platform companies are gaining attention in the current market, and Robinhood stands out as an industry disruptor “because they not only gave stock trading the traditional Silicon Valley treatment of a slick, easy-to-use app targeted to a younger crowd, they also innovated on the business model of stock trading by finding a way to offer the service for free.” The same cannot be said of many FinTechs, he said.

He did note, however that despite the name recognition the firm carries, there are dozens of pages of risk factor disclosures.

“I think investors will largely look past that due to the stock’s growth potential,” he said adding, “The company has a significant amount of earnings potential, because it has yet to branch out into other business lines, like wealth management.”

Asked about the general landscape for public listings, Mason said the IPO environment is “extremely robust in the U.S. and will remain so throughout the year” as investors remain interested in U.S. FinTech stocks. But for SPACs, he said, where listings are declining amid increased regulatory scrutiny: “We will continue to see the existing SPACs take companies public in the FinTech space, since I believe there are still many prime targets in that sector, but the companies will likely have to rein in their lofty projections.”

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