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European fintech: Rise of the 'unicorns'

The U.K.'s BGL Group Ltd. and ACORN OakNorth Holdings Ltd., and Germany's N26 GmbH, are the three most valuable unlisted fintech "unicorns" in Europe, among a field of nine, data from CB Insights and S&P Global Market Intelligence shows.

BGL, an insurance provider that also owns comparethemarket.com, is worth $3.00 billion, while bank service provider ACORN OakNorth and mobile bank N26 are worth $2.80 billion and $2.70 billion, respectively. Unicorns are defined as fintechs worth more than $1 billion. The list includes other digital banks, money transfer firms, and companies focused on payment processing and financial software development.

In 2018, three European fintech unicorns planned IPOs: Dutch payment processor Adyen NV, Swedish payment services provider iZettle AB, and British peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle Ltd. Adyen and Funding Circle went through with IPOs, while iZettle accepted an acquisition offer from PayPal Holdings Inc.

Adyen's stock has risen 40% since its June 2018 IPO, which was oversubscribed multiple times, but Funding Circle's shares fell sharply and have yet to recover to the initial listing price. iZettle was bought for double the valuation it sought in a public listing.

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