Online car marketplace Auto1 is planning to list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Q1, making it one of the first IPOs in what is expected to be a busy year for Europe.

The Berlin-based startup is looking to raise €1 billion (about $1.2 billion) from newly issued shares. Auto1 hasn't disclosed its target valuation, but Reuters reported that it could be over €5 billion. The company was valued at €2.9 billion in 2018 following a €460 million investment from SoftBank's Vision Fund.

Several German companies are reportedly eyeing IPOs this year, including laboratory group Synlab and Vodafone's European towers business Vantage. Beyond Germany, UK food delivery company Deliveroo and cybersecurity startup Darktrace are said to be planning public debuts.

"The resurgence of public equities and lack of listings in the second and third quarters created pent-up demand for IPOs," said Nalin Patel, EMEA private capital analyst at PitchBook. "During 2020, we observed how conducive market conditions can influence exits from the VC ecosystem in a short time period, as groups of startups trigger a sequence of exit events rapidly to maximize returns to investors."

However, he predicted that 2021 exits will fluctuate as lockdowns—and potential fresh outbreaks of COVID-19—persist. Underlying macroeconomic issues, including rising unemployment and stagnant economic growth, will also have an impact. Patel added that he expects VC exits in Europe will remain buoyant in 2021.

Auto1, which allows consumers and car dealers in Europe to buy and sell used cars, sold over 615,000 cars last year, generating around €3.5 billion in revenue. The company has raised over €1.7 billion in funding from investors including Princeville Global, Target Global and Baillie Gifford.

Featured image courtesy of Auto1

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