The largest music streaming company in the world has filed for initial public offering (IPO), through the process of direct listing of its shares.
It has taken the not-so-common route of directly selling company shares to the public sans any middlemen like brokers, Wall Street banks, institutional investors, or funds.
The direct selling method will allow existing investors and employees of Spotify to directly sell their shares to the public. As no new shares will be issued, there is no listing price specified by Spotify. This method is considered to be more democratic and low cost.
The Spotify IPO filing included the mandatory disclosure of detailed financial data by the company for the first time.
Annual sales stood at 4.09 billion euros ($4.99 billion) in 2017, which was a significant jump of around 39 percent over the previous year’s 2.95 billion euros. However, the net loss increased by 129 percent during 2017, primarily attributed to the financing cost of a Sweden-based debt deal of 2016, which was worth $1 billion.
While the market acknowledged the increasing revenues, there is skepticism about the increasing losses and costs, and how the expanding user base can be transformed into a profit.
“The revenue continues to grow but in particular their costs are growing slower than revenue, which is exactly what you expect in a business like this,” Jay Ritter, an expert in initial public offerings and professor at the University of Florida, told Reuters.
Spotify has 71 million premium subscribers across the globe, which is almost double than that of the next competitor Apple Inc (AAPL), which has 36 million subscribers. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN) holds the third rank with 16 million paid subscribers, followed by Pandora Media Inc (P), which has around 5.5 million.
Including the other subscribers who have opted for advertising-supported streams, Spotify’s subscriber base stands at a total of 159 million monthly users.
“We believe the universality of music gives us the opportunity to reach many of the over 3.6 billion internet users globally,” the company said in its filing.
As per Reuters data based on private transactions, it is valued at around $19 billion.
Spotify continues to remain the global market leader in music streaming services since its inception in 2008. Over the past decade, it has expanded to over 60 countries across the globe and is giving stiff competition to similar services from established technology giants that include the likes of Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL), Amazon and Apple. (See also, Apple Music Challenges Spotify Ahead of IPO.)