iZettle eyeing UK acquisitions and staff expansion as firm prepares for IPO

Swedish payments services firm iZettle is eyeing further acquisitions in the UK where it expects to at least double its staff size as it prepares for a stock market debut.

IZettle, which is best known for its mini card readers used by small shops and market stalls, bolstered its British staff size last year when it added a Scottish outpost to its portfolio following the takeover of Edinburgh's IntelligentPos.

But co-founder and chief executive Jacob de Geer said the company is unlikely to stop there.

"We're always on the hunt for more acquisitions and the reason being that it's pretty clear that the need from the business segment, the merchant segment that we're going after, is massive," he told the Press Association.

"It makes sense to scout for companies across all our different markets, but obviously London is a good place to start," he added.

Its acquisition strategy seems in line with its UK focus, having been fixated on the British market since its launch in 2011.

"It's now our biggest market across all iZettle markets, so it's overtaken the Nordics which I think is extremely good. I mean, London is still the financial capital of Europe and the UK has been our focus market since day one," Mr de Geer explained.

The payments firm is keeping an eye on companies that could expand its services for small businesses - particularly those with one to 15 employees that Mr de Geer says is an "under-served" market and has become the "sweet spot" for iZettle.

There is also scope to at least double its UK employee base - with about 40 staff currently in London and around 70 now in Edinburgh - assuming the impact of Brexit is minimal.

"In say five years - we'd probably have an office here of around 200 plus people. Only time will tell and it depends on what Brexit will actually imply for us as a company."

Jacob De Geer is chief executive of iZettle (iZettle/PA)

Mr de Geer said the company is keeping its ear to the ground as to whether it might have to restructure in order to comply with regulations that arise from a new trading arrangement between the UK and EU.

"It's just unfortunate because it creates some internal struggles to abide by certain new situations."

But iZettle is not derailing its current business plans, which include preparations for an initial public offering (IPO).

"We've taken a decision as a company to prepare the company for a listing, not really knowing when in time that is, but we're doing everything we should as a company to make sure we have our ducks in a row to follow an IPO track."

He said it was "too early to tell" whether the London stock market could host its shares.

"Whether a hypothetical IPO would take place in London or Sweden or elsewhere eventually would be up to banks and advisers to tell us," Mr de Geer said.

While it secured 40 million euros (£36 million) in a recent funding round meant to "accelerate its growth strategy", iZettle is staying focused on the European market where Mr Geer says the firm has "scalability".

In comparison, entering the US market would mean battling a raft of competitors alongside rival Square.

"I wouldn't touch the US with a stick unless I had a very strong sort of partner and it needs to be a partner with massive reach and very deep pockets," the chief executive said.

"It's only a matter where we get the best bang for the buck and so far it makes more sense to move into another European market than to become the 151st player to enter the US."

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