Shein to file for £50 billion IPO in London

Online fashion giant Shein is primed to file for an initial public offering (IPO) in London this week. This move could value the company at a staggering £50 billion (roughly R1.2 trillion), according to an anonymous source familiar with the plans. However, the source cautions that the timing could shift, and there’s no guarantee the IPO will be finalized.

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This potential London listing, first reported by Sky News, would be a major coup for the UK exchange. If successful, it could be one of the biggest IPOs in the city’s history. This would be a welcome boost, as London has largely missed out on the recent surge of European IPO activity.

Shein’s pursuit of a London IPO comes after facing potential roadblocks in the U.S. In February, Bloomberg News reported concerns from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that could have hampered a New York listing. Additionally, Senator Marco Rubio publicly urged the SEC to block a U.S. IPO, citing a lack of transparency about Shein’s Chinese operations.

Founded in China but now headquartered in Singapore, Shein has remained tight-lipped about the IPO. However, a new wrinkle has emerged. Recent Chinese regulations require companies seeking overseas listings to undergo stricter vetting by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. Shein must secure their approval before proceeding.

The timing of the potential IPO coincides with the UK’s upcoming election in July, where polls favour a Labour Party victory. Notably, Shein’s executive chairman, Donald Tang, reportedly held discussions with several Labour politicians, including shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds, according to Sky News. These talks could be seen as an effort to curry favour with the potential new government.