Pinterest files for an IPO and could be worth nearly $12 billion

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Pinterest wants to sell its shares at between $15 and $17 when it goes public. That could value the company at nearly $12 billion.Still, that is less...

Posted: Apr 8, 2019 12:13 PM

Pinterest wants to sell its shares at between $15 and $17 when it goes public. That could value the company at nearly $12 billion.

Still, that is less than some recent private valuations of the company.

The IPO by Pinterest would follow the recent public offering by ride-hailing service Lyft. Several other privately held start-ups worth at least $1 billion are also preparing offerings later this year, including Uber, Slack and Postmates.

Pinterest plans to sell 86.3 million shares as part of its initial offering, which would raise between $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion.

The company was founded in 2010 by Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra, the last of whom parted ways with the company early in its history. Over the years, Pinterest has tried to evolve from being a digital scrapbooking service to a visual discovery tool, positioning it as a potential competitor to products like Google Search.

More than 250 million people now use Pinterest each month to bookmark or "pin" images ranging from recipes to home designs. While it's an impressive figure by many standards, it falls well behind other social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which measure their audience in billions.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, Pinterest is not disclosing the number of people who use its service on a daily basis, which could raise concerns about user engagement. "We do not anticipate that most of our users will become daily active users," the company said in its IPO prospectus.

Pinterest posted $766 million in sales last year, an increase of 60% from the year prior, fueled by its advertising business. But like many other start-ups planning IPOs, it has never reported a profit. It lost $63 million last year, though that was smaller than earlier annual losses. It's also considerably less than $911 million and $1.8 billion lost last year by Lyft and Uber, respectively.

Lyft went public on March 29 with an IPO price of $72, but it has struggled to remain above that price many days since the first trade. It's relative weak early performance may have put a damper on the initial pricing range offered by Pinterest.

"It didn't help," said Matt Kennedy, an analyst at Renaissance Capital, which manages IPO-focused exchange-traded funds. The mixed reception to Lyft's Wall Street debut "showed that public investors are somewhat cautious toward highly valued, unprofitable companies."

Pinterest expects to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker "PINS."

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