Afterpay has flagged a US listing… and may disappear altogether from the ASX
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Australia’s largest buy now, pay later company could soon become American – at least as far as the market is concerned. With North America set to become its largest market, Afterpay has told shareholders it is contemplating listing in the US, tapping Goldman Sachs to assist.
“Afterpay is currently working with external advisors to explore options for a US listing given the US market is now the largest contributor to our business and is expected to continue to grow strongly,” the company said in a statement to the ASX.
“While Afterpay intends to remain an Australian headquartered company, our shareholder base is increasingly becoming more globally focused. A US listing would further accommodate this growing interest.”
The company said there was “no timeline set” for its board to make a decision, although it is understood to have been sounding out the opportunity for some time.
It remains unclear whether or not a move would see it delist from the local ASX. With greater access to global capital, a move could see the company significantly grow its $37 billion market cap.
By way of comparison, the entire market cap of the ASX collectively tops out at around $2 trillion. The tech-heavy Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) are roughly $25 trillion and $33 trillion apiece.
Beyond stock market machinations, the company’s focus has long been straying from Australian shores. Last year, co-founders Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen split the CEO role, with Molnar to take the reins of the US operation.
So too is Afterpay rapidly growing its American footprint, reporting doubled sales growth there in the space of 12 months. Approaching three times as many customers, North America is now responsible for $2.6 billion in quarterly sales, versus just $2.1 billion across Australia and New Zealand.
At the same time, a listing locally would help facilitate the gifting of stock options to employees in a bid to attract and keep top American talent. So far Afterpay has chosen to siphon off money from capital raising rounds to help buy out those looking to profit from the company’s success.
Given all of that, the rationale to go Wall Street makes sense. With the potential to find even more investors, few Australian shareholders are likely to complain.