Language-learning app Babbel targets 1 billion Frankfurt IPO -sources

By Arno Schuetze

FRANKFURT, March 11 (Reuters) - Lesson Nine, the company behind language-learning app Babbel, is preparing to list on the Frankfurt stock in a deal expected to value it at more than 1 billion euros ($1.19 billion), people close to the matter said.

Goldman Sachs GS.N and BNP Paribas BNPP.PA have been asked to organise the initial public offering, which could take place in the third quarter, they added.

Berlin-based Lesson Nine said it is looking at various ways of financing its growth. "But there is neither a decision for a particular (financing) option nor a timeline."

The banks were not immediately available for comment.

Any deal would add to a growing list of technology IPOs in Germany, which has already seen Auto1 AG1G.DE list on the stock exchange this year and is awaiting deals such as those of e-commerce groups About You and Mr. Spex as well as of open-source enterprise software company SUSE.

Babbel offers online language classes, vocabulary and spelling games, stories and videos, all on a subscription basis. Founded in 2007, Babbel counts millions of active subscribers learning 14 different languages.

It employs 750 staff and is expecting sales of more than 200 million euros this year, benefiting from people flocking to online courses during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

The company name Babbel derives from the word "Babbeln" meaning "talking" in the local dialect of Germany's Hessia region.

($1 = 0.8383 euro)

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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