Square prices IPO at just $9 per share, valued at $2.9 billion
Square, the payment technology company founded and led by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, this evening raised $243 million by pricing its initial public offering at $9 per share, which would imply an market value of around $2.9 billion.
It is a major disappointment for the San Francisco-based company, which had expected to price its 27 million shares at between $11 and $13 each. Same goes for some of its latter investors that came in at around a $6 billion valuation, although many of them will receive extra stock because of the low price (thus further diluting the company’s own shares).
Square is expected to list tomorrow morning on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “SQ.”
Goldman Sachs (GS) served as lead underwriter for the IPO, one of the most closely watched this year. Square becomes just the third tech startup to go public in 2015 after being valued at $1 billion or more by private market investors, following Box (BOX) and Pure Storage (PSTG) .
None of Square’s existing investors sold stock in the IPO, with the float representing just 8% of the company’s outstanding shares.
Square most recently raised $180 million in private funding at $15.46 per share, in a multi-stage Series E round stretching from September 2014 through just last month. Square’s last Series D round, which was raised in September 2012, valued the company at $11.01 per share. Holders of Series E stock will receive extra shares in the IPO, in order to help make up for the underwhelming pricing.
Square’s IPO comes at a time when it appears the company’s losses are growing and revenue growth is slowing. In its original S-1 filing with the SEC, Square reported a $77.6 million loss for the first six months of this year compared to a $79 million loss during the same period in 2014. Meanwhile, revenues rose to $560.5 million from $372 million during the same six months.
In a more recent third quarter filing, Square posted a loss of $53.9 million on $332.2 million in revenue, indicating slower revenue growth and widening losses than before.
This discount in share price could also be attributed to investor concerns over Dorsey’s dual roles as the CEO of Square and Twitter. Earlier this week, Square updated its S-1 filing to include language around Dorsey putting his “full business efforts and time to the company,” despite also being a full-time CEO at Twitter.
Square’s IPO is also taking place amid as an increasing number of mutual funds including Fidelity and T. Rowe Price write down the value of their shares in privately-held technology companies. The write downs signal that the investment firms believe startups like human resources software maker Zenefits, messaging service Snapchat, and fantasy sports site DraftKings have declined in value.
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