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Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2019
Victoria Ivashina and Esel Çekin
This case follows Kaspi.kz, a private equity (Baring Vostok) co-owned retail bank in Central Asia that evolved into a fintech, payments and e-commerce company.
It provides insights into private equity financing, portfolio company management, and initial public offering practices.
Overall Harvard Alumni Snapshot
In particular, the case focuses on (i) the bank’s journey from a traditional bank that serviced only corporations to an online platform, and (ii) the timing and process of preparation for an IPO. The management initially concentrated on profitability, but they soon shifted their emphasis to customer experience.
The results were rewarding: Kaspi.kz became the number one player in online commerce, online payments, and consumer financing in Kazakhstan. The challenge of the IPO decisions is its timing: communicating the success of the fast transformation of the firm and its potential for further growth, especially in an emerging market like Kazakhstan, was far from trivial.
From a business perspective, even a short delay of six months could potentially add millions of dollars to its value.
Kaspi.kz’s private equity investor was interested in commencing a formal exit via an IPO, but the valuation was an important consideration. The case also provides a unique insight into financial fragility of the retail banking model, and how integration into an e-commerce platform interacts with the retail banking model.
Keywords: Finance; Private Equity; Initial Public Offering; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Central Asia;