Spotify may be going public in the biggest tech offering of the year so far, but don’t expect a lot of pomp and circumstance at the NYSE on Tuesday.
That’s just one of the ways in which this listing is not typical. And the Wall Street Journal’s Maureen Farrell says its unprecedented nature could lead to more market volatility than usual.
“The New York Stock Exchange has never done anything like this with a company of this size,” Farrell told Cheddar Monday.
By choosing the direct listing route, the music streaming company removed banks from the picture, meaning there won’t be any underwriters stabilizing the price in case the stock crashes.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Allen & Co. were brought on just to play advisory roles.
Spotify hasn’t given a range of what price to expect, or even revealed how many shares will be available on day one, creating another layer of uncertainty.
And if all that weren’t enough, there’s also the overall market volatility to contend with. Spotify’s direct listing comes against a backdrop of a major tech sell off last week, with Facebook losing almost $100 billion in market cap. The sector fell sharply to start the second quarter, too, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropping 2.7 percent and erasing its gains for the year.
But Farrell says there’s also room for upside.
“What I’ve heard is that there’s been a lot of trading in the private shares and, in that case, it’s been going up,” she said. “The last price they had reported as of mid-March was $132.50…[more recently] the stock has been changing hands about $5 higher than that,” explained Farrell.
There’s also a pretty big appetite among investors for new tech offerings. Dropbox’s strong performance since its IPO last month indicates investors may have a lot of interest in Spotify.
The music streaming company, founded in 2006, could be valued as much as $23.6 billion. In its regulatory filing, it revealed it has 159 million active users, with 71 million of them paying for the service, more than double Apple Music’s subscriber base.
But the company has been suffering heavy losses and predicts it will see slower revenue growth in 2018.
Cheddar will cover the direct listing live from the NYSE all day on Tuesday.