Some Blue Apron lovers who rely on the food delivery service to fuel their week are wondering when they can get a slice of this company ahead of its highly anticipated IPO. More importantly, they want to know how much that slice will cost them.
Many institutional investors have already put their names down and are expected to pay around $10 to $11 a share for an offering of about 30 million shares, which is down from the initial $15 to $17 a share. But most average investors won’t get a piece of the action until Blue Apron stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange, expected to happen Thursday, under ticker symbol “APRN.”
Blue Apron reportedly lowered its IPO price range due to weaker demand from investors. Now, the company say it expects to raise about $315 million rather than $480 million.
As to when (and at what exact price) Main Street buyers will be able to take a bite out of the company, that remains to be seen.
For starters, the company isn’t expected to begin trading immediately after markets open at 9:30 a.m. EST Thursday. In fact, most new IPO companies don’t. For instance, Snapchat‘s parent company, Snap (SNAP), didn’t start trading until around 11:20 a.m. on its first day on the NYSE in March. Alibaba (BABA) stock wasn’t available to retail investors until almost 12 p.m. in September 2014.
That’s because the underwriters of an IPO — Goldman Sachs, in Blue Apron’s case — use the morning hours to calculate the lowest price at which stock sellers are willing to sell, and the highest price at which buyers are willing to buy on the public markets. It’s often a very different figure from what institutional investors first paid for shares.
Again, looking at Snap, the camera company opened to markets at a price of $23 despite having an IPO price of $17 a share the night before.
Given that Blue Apron’s IPO is still one of the biggest of 2017, its underwriters will probably be careful with its pricing. This means the company probably won’t go public until around 11 a.m., Leslie Pfrang, a partner at IPO consultancy firm Class V Group, told Fortune.
Pfrang, who correctly predicted the timing of Snap’s IPO, says its more likely for the company to go public between 11-11:30 a.m. rather than 10:30-11 a.m.
It’s unclear what that opening price will be, though underwriters and companies typically aim for stock to pop its first day on the market. That usually suggests that regardless of its price, the stock will begin trading at a slightly higher figure.
Blue Apron is going public at a sensitive time. Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods (WFM) has spooked investors in the grocery industry. And Blue Apron already has numerous competitors, with HelloFresh, Sun Basket, and other food delivery startups in the mix.
Making matters worse: Pfrang says the lower IPO pricing for Blue Apron means the company will likely be less competitive in the near term. After all, it’ll have less cash to throw at, say, marketing to customers or improving its technology.