It has been previously reported by others that the money transfer service TransferWise rebranded to Wise, and acquired the Wise.com domain name in 2020. The transaction price for the domain name had not been made public at the time. However, a recent prospectus by Wise can shed some light on the deal.
Wise has gone public on the London Stock Exchange, reaching an $11 billion valuation after the first day of trading yesterday. That prompted me to seek out their investor relations page which has many financial documents, including their prospectus. Note 9 on pages 139-140 of that prospectus discloses additions to Intangible Assets in the “Other” category of GBP £1.6 million for the year between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. It also notes that:
Other intangible assets mainly comprise domain purchases.
Since the Wise.com domain name was acquired in June 2020, undoubtedly it would be captured by that disclosure. However, the disclosure did use the plural “domain purchases” (rather than the singular), so we cannot definitively conclude that all of the GBP £1.6 million was for the Wise.com domain name (they might have acquired other minor defensive registrations in that time period). But, it’s likely that the vast majority of that figure was for the Wise.com domain name. Also, it places an upper bound on the transaction price (we know it couldn’t have changed hands for more than that amount).
According to the Bank of England, the USD/GBP exchange rate averaged $1.2526 per £ in June 2020. Given buyers and sellers tend to gravitate towards round numbers in transactions, and that most domain transactions are denominated in US currency (the seller in this case was from the US), in my opinion it seems very possible that the Wise.com domain name changed hands for USD $2 million in June 2020. Given Wise’s enormous valuation of $11 billion today, it appears the seller left quite a bit on the table.
Update on July 22, 2021: Andrew Rosener, a domain name broker, has confirmed that his company brokered the domain name, and that it was a $2 million deal.