April 3, 2018 / 5:09 PM / 6 months ago

Spotify shares open at $165.90 in unusual debut listing

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spotify SPOT.N shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday with an opening price of $165.90 per share, nearly 26 percent above the reference price of $132 a share set by the NYSE late on Monday.

The Spotify logo hangs on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange with U.S. and a Swiss flag as the company lists it's stock with a direct listing in New York, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The streaming music leader has structured the stock market listing to allow existing investors to sell directly to the public while offering no shares of its own, in a test case being closely watched by other well-funded multibillion-dollar tech companies with no immediate cash-raising needs.

MICHAEL CARVIN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SMARTASSET, NEW YORK

“The direct listing is a focal point for other cash-rich companies who don’t need to use the capital markets to raise money but still are seeking an alternative path to liquidity. If this works, many companies may use Spotify’s IPO as a benchmark. However, a direct listing would be extremely difficult for companies who don’t have the same name recognition as Spotify. This is a large listing, and Spotify has the advantage of a huge consumer base which it can leverage into retail investors.”

“The fact that other unicorn tech companies like Dropbox have gone public successfully recently is a positive sign for Spotify despite the stock slump in the tech sector. Carrying out a direct listing has its risks; however, if the deal runs smoothly, we might see more companies opting for this unconventional approach.”

“I think Spotify is a good bet. It’s well-capitalized and cash-flow efficient, and its sheer scale opens the door to a lot of opportunities to diversify. With that said, investors are right to have some reservations. Spotify is haemorrhaging from the costs of licensing content. The outlay for licensing is one of the reasons Pandora is still not profitable. In addition, even though Spotify’s scale is about twice that of Apple Music, Apple has a huge ecosystem of products to market to.”

TOMAS OTTERBECK, ANALYST, REDEYE FINANCIAL, STOCKHOLM

“Spotify is just as hyped as (the IPOs of) Twitter and Snap.”

“It’s the same with Spotify.”

“Private investors and traders will probably trade the share up substantially at the beginning.

“It will be more interesting to see what happens  to the share in the coming two to three days.”

STEPHEN MASSOCCA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, WEDBUSH SECURITIES, SAN FRANCISCO

    “Obviously it was kind of an interesting avenue. It wasn’t your typical IPO. But it has done well. I am surprised to see that the buying has been pretty good here. The whole tech selloff over the last few days doesn’t appear to be impacting this at all, and you would think people might have a little reticence into buying these type of names given the downdraft that companies like Facebook and Google have experienced. The trading has been more positive than I initially thought it would have been.”

KIM FORREST, SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER AT FORT PITT CAPITAL GROUP IN PITTSBURGH

    “It’s an interesting way to allow people who already hold the stock to monetize it. It’s interesting in that they’re not doing it to raise money.”

    “There’s a lot of froth and excitement going on today. Maybe we’re going to have FANGS instead of FANG.”

    “Why people are really hot for it is because they love momentum. It’s in that (FANG) industry space. Its technology providing a service people may not have to pay for. But it does have a fee model and that makes it interesting. They seem to have thrived and not only survived.”

“It took longer to open than a normal IPO. It’s a good thing to try to explore this and it doesn’t seem to have hurt investors at least a half an hour into trading,” she said.  “You’re holding a party and you don’t know if anybody’s going to show up. It’s a big expensive party.”

CHI-HUA CHIEN, MANAGING PARTNER, GOODWATER CAPITAL, SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA

“Amazing.”

“It’s a fair market price. It’s not manipulated or set by any puts and takes by banks or institutional investors. That’s the real price, and I think that will be revealing to a lot of companies.”

Compiled by Alden Bentley

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