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Exclusive: Laybuy up for sale after turbulent time on public markets

The fintech firm currently has a value of around £4.3m on the Catalist market, which is regarded as a feeder to the New Zealand's Exchange, known as the NZX.
The fintech firm currently has a value of around £4.3m on the Catalist market, which is regarded as a feeder to the New Zealand's Exchange, known as the NZX.

Buy-now pay-later (BNPL) firm Laybuy has put itself up for sale and is hunting for potential buyers following a turbulent few years on the public markets, City A.M. can reveal.

The Kiwi fintech firm, which launched in 2017 and once boasted around 766,000 customers across the UK, Australia and New Zealand, is looking to delist from the New Zealand’s junior stock exchange Catalist and move into private ownership, sources familiar with the matter told City A.M.

Laybuy has faced a tough period since raising $80m (£40m) on the Aussie stock market in 2020 at a value of some $358m (£184m). Last January, the company scrapped its Sydney listing after a slump in its share price and said it would swap to the small business-focused market Catalist.

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The fintech firm currently has a value of around £4.3m on Catalist, which is regarded as a feeder to New Zealand’s Exchange, known as the NZX.

While Laybuy’s active UK customers peaked at around 610,000 in March 2022, that number had slumped to roughly 484,000 at the end the year.

BNPL firms have also been hit by a slowdown as shoppers have tightened the purse strings during the cost of living crisis. Laybuy removed major retailers like Amazon, Ebay and Marks & Spencer from its platform earlier this month.

Since the firm’s launch seven years ago, the wider BNPL sector has grappled with the threat of tighter regulation across markets and increased competition from incumbent payment firms.

Swedish fintech Klarna has exploded in popularity to become the UK’s largest BNPL provider with some 18m customers, followed by Clearpay and Zilch. Big banks like HSBC, Natwest and Virgin Money have also attempted to cash in on the boom in demand for interest-free instalment loans.

Moody’s analysts warned in a report last November that “few BNPL companies will remain independent” as some are acquired and others cease operations due to the growing headwinds.

They added that providers would be more likely to survive if they could achieve profitability quickly, which Laybuy has yet to do.

Laybuy did not respond to a request for comment.