The financial startup N26, which has repeatedly attracted attention with negative headlines in recent months, is being converted from a limited liability company into a stock corporation. However, an IPO has not yet been decided.
Conversion due to growth?
N26 announced that the conversion from a GmbH (limited liability company) to a stock corporation was due to the company’s growth. According to the company’s own statements, the conversion is intended on the one hand to prepare for its subsequent incorporation as a European company (SE) and on the other hand to reflect that N26 is “a leading digital bank in Europe.”
The conversion into a stock corporation promptly fueled speculation about an IPO for the company. Valentin Stalf, co-founder of the company, had recently expressed caution and referred to the poor environment for an IPO. He also made it clear that an IPO would only come into question when the company’s profitability was within reach – and that would not be for another two years. More specifically, “However, it will certainly take several more years – also in view of the difficult stock market environment – before we possibly go public.”
Supervisory Board established
The obligation to appoint a supervisory board goes hand in hand with the company’s name as a stock corporation. N26 has fulfilled this obligation. The new board is headed by investor Marcus Mosen, who previously headed the payment service provider Concardis, among others. His deputy will be delivery company founder Jörg Gerbig. Also represented on the Supervisory Board are lawyer Barbara Roth from Deutsche Börse, Springer CFO Julian Deutz and lawyer Robert Kilian.
According to initial assessments, the composition of the supervisory board indicates that N26 is seeking better cooperation with regulatory authorities. There have been repeated problems with these in the recent past. For example, a growth stop was imposed on the bank. In addition, N26 had collected a million-dollar fine because money laundering suspicion reports were submitted too late to the supervisory authority. As a result, presumably in an effort not to break any more rules and to crack down as early as possible, N26 had terminated numerous customers and withheld their credit without any violations on the part of the customers.