Deliveroo, the food delivery company, has announced that it will offer nearly £10 million (Dh49.4 million) in shares to its staff, including those in the UAE, making all of its employees shareholders in the company.

Staff at the start-up, which has raised close to £1 billion in funding, were told in a memo on Wednesday morning to expect the windfall in the coming months, reported to be worth an average of £5,000 per employee.

The move comes amid reports that the London-based company, one of Europe’s most valuable new companies, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) in the next two years.

Due to their status as self-employed, the company’s bicycle-riding couriers in the UK will not receive any shares. It was not immediately clear if drivers in the UAE would receive stock, or if they too are considered non-permanent.

Sky News, who first reported that shares would be allocated to all staff, say that stock options would be worth an average of £5,000.

In a message to all employees worldwide, the founder and CEO of Deliveroo, Will Shu, said he wanted all of the staff at the company “to be owners,” and that the share options was “his way of thanking staff at the company a way of making sure this truly is our company in every way.”

Companies often award stock options to staff before listing, as the value of shares typically climb ahead of an IPO. This encourages employee retention, particularly important in a highly competitive market like London, where Silicon Valley giants like Amazon and Facebook are also hiring.