Streaming Device Maker Roku Wants to IPO By Year-End
Roku Inc., the maker of devices and software for streaming services, wants to bring itself to market by the end of the year, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
That implies a substantial scaling down of its ambitions since February of this year, when it held talks with investors about raising money at a valuation of $1.5 billion. Those talks ultimately came to nothing.
Roku had originally looked at going public in 2014, but was in the middle of diversifying its revenue base away from its original hardware suite and into areas liked software and advertising. The risks of being a “hardware-only” company have, after all, been only too apparent in the fall from grace of camera-maker GoPro. Its shares have fallen by nearly 90% from their peak after a series of disappointing quarters for sales and lukewarm take-up of new products.
That process is now more advanced, and the company’s media and licensing segment generates more than a quarter of total revenue, according to the WSJ.
Market conditions for the second half of the year look interesting, to say the least. The Nasdaq is still near record highs and the S&P 500 hit a new all-time high this week, after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen indicated that interest rates may not have to rise much further. But it’s been a challenging couple of weeks for startups exposing themselves to the harsh scrutiny of public markets. Shares in Snap Inc (SNAP), which came to market amid huge fanfare in the spring, have fallen below their IPO price this week after an analyst at Morgan Stanley, which led the deal, said he’d overestimated the company’s ability to generate ad revenue from its services.
Another high-profile offering, meal kit delivery service Blue Apron (APRON), has fared even worse, losing over 25% from their initial price after Amazon’s bid for Whole Foods (WFM) hit the share price of all the companies in the food and delivery space.
Roku is backed by, among others, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and Sky Plc. Hearst, Menlo Ventures, Globescan Capital, and Fidelity are also investors. It didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Fortune.