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The stock market is so volatile that one European tech firm has canceled its IPO

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The WeTransfer logo on a smartphone.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg via Getty Images

LONDON — The stock market has gotten a little too volatile for WeTransfer’s liking.

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The Dutch file-sharing company said Thursday that it has canceled plans for an initial public offering on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, citing market volatility. It added there was still “substantial investor demand” for the IPO.

“While we have decided not to proceed with our public listing due to volatile market conditions, our commitment to address the needs of our global community of 87 million monthly active users remains as strong as ever,” said Gordon Willoughby, WeTransfer’s CEO.

“I would like to thank our users, partners, the WeTransfer team and our shareholders for their continued support.”

Founded in 2009, Amsterdam-based WeTransfer develops cloud-based software that allows users to send large files over the internet. It makes money through advertising and paid subscriptions.

WeTransfer had planned to raise 125 million euros ($140 million) in its debut. Shares were priced at between 17.5-20.5 euros. At the upper range, WeTransfer would have scored a valuation of 716 million euros — over $800 million in dollar terms.

While not the biggest tech IPO in Europe lately, WeTransfer’s public offering would have been among the first major debuts in the region in 2022. The company’s decision to call off its IPO suggests businesses — especially in a high-growth sector like tech — are getting more nervous about listing.

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Last year saw floats from the likes of U.K. food delivery firm Deliveroo and money transfer business Wise. While Deliveroo’s IPO performed poorly, ranking among the worst debuts ever in the London market, both firms achieved multibillion-dollar valuations.

Investors have soured on tech stocks recently amid jitters over the path for central banks’ monetary policies. The Federal Reserve and Bank of England have both signaled they plan to tighten policy in response to sky-high inflation. That’s led to a rout in major tech shares, with the Nasdaq Composite down over 14% so far this year.

It could be a sign of things to come for Europe’s tech sector, which attracted a record $121 billion in venture capital funding last year, according to data from Atomico.

The region now has more billion-dollar unicorn start-ups than ever and is home to some of the world’s most valuable private tech companies, such as Klarna, Checkout.com and Revolut. But some investors worry the boom times could come to a halt as central banks start to hike interest rates, tightening liquidity.

On Wednesday, the Fed signaled it would make its first rate hike in more than three years at its upcoming March meeting. Europe’s tech sector sank about 1.6% in Thursday’s trading session as investors reacted to the news.

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