Slack Plans to Take a Page From Spotify and Forego IPO for a Direct Offering: Report

January 11, 2019, 7:27 PM UTC

Slack is reportedly planning to go public by listing its shares directly on a stock exchange, bypassing the traditional IPO process in favor of a more unconventional path that brought Spotify to the public stock market last year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Slack could go public in the second quarter of this year. Instead of the formal IPO underwriting process, in which investment banks line up institutional investors via a process some startups consider too costly, Slack currently expects to use a direct offering, although those plans could change, the Journal said.

Slack’s plans to approach the public stock market have been shifting in recent months. Late last year, Slack reportedly hired investment bank Goldman Sachs as the lead underwriter for an IPO that could value the chat and workplace-collaboration software maker as high as $10 billion.

In November, Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s co-founder and CEO, told Fortune that the company had “no specific timeline for an IPO,” although he added, “We’ve been on a path to public company readiness for several years now and we’re continuing on that path.”

Streaming-music giant Spotify debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last April through a direct offering. The stock closed at $149 a share on its first day of trading, then rose as high as $196.28 a share in July. A tech-stock selloff last fall caused it to tumble below its opening price. Spotify was trading at $121.47 a share Friday.

Slack’s most recent private funding came last summer, when the company raised $427 million in a round led by General Atlantic and Dragoneer. At the time, the investment valued the company at more than $7 billion. Slack has raised a total of $1.2 billion in seven funding rounds since 2010, according to Crunchbase, which tracks financing rounds of private companies.