Morning Report: Alfa’s IPO Sets A Good Precedent For UK Tech IPOs

Morning Report: 2017’s moderate tech IPO rebound continues across the pond.

Shares of Alfa Financial Software (Alfa) traded up more than 30 percent last Friday after the financial-services tech shop went public on the London Stock Exchange.

Alfa went public worth just shy of £1 billion. According to the Financial Times, the firm was worth £975 million at its list price of 325 pence. Tracking the firm’s performance using Bloomberg’s online financial data, Alfa closed its first trading day worth nearly 430 pence. The company is worth £1.29 billion at that price point.

According to City A.M., Alfa’s debut is “London’s largest so far this year.” That fact, coupled with its strong early trading performance, has engendered mild snark from members of the London technology scene. The event did secure some United States-based attention, however:

Press dearth or not — more from the above-quoted James Clark here in a 2016 interview — Alfa’s debut is quite interesting. The firm, which sold around a fourth of its shares in its listing, was incredibly closely held, according to its prospectus.

That makes it an odd company, at least from a United States perspective. A unicorn that doesn’t have half of Silicon Valley’s backing? Surely that is a form of sacrilege.

Cap table oddities aside, the firm has something else nearly verboten on these shores: profit. From the firm’s listing documents, the following:

The markets are closed both here at home and in London, where it is the Spring Bank Holiday. As such, there is no new trading data for Alfa to share this morning.

Alfa’s debut shows that there is appetite for tech listings in more places than just New York City. Perhaps we’ll see enough UK tech listings by year’s end to generate a cohort we’ll track for a few years. That would be welcome.

From the Crunchbase Daily:

Nothing. It’s a damn holiday. Go outside and try to grill in the fog.

Views from the Crunchbase office:

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