Pinterest prices IPO at $19 a share, for a $12.7 billion valuation

Its pricing could bode well for the many unicorns, indicating a sign of healthy demand after a tough phase for tech companies

By Erin Griffith
Published: Apr 18, 2019

g_114897_bg_pinterestipo_280x210.jpgThe Pinterest office in San Francisco, Aug. 31, 2018. Pinterest on April 17, 2019, priced its shares at $19 each for its initial public offering, in a sign of healthy demand by investors after the appetite for fast-growing but money-losing tech companies appeared to be on the wane. (Anastasiia Sapon/The New York Times)

SAN FRANCISCO — Pinterest on Wednesday priced its shares at $19 each for its initial public offering, in a sign of healthy demand by investors after the appetite for fast-growing but money-losing tech companies appeared to be on the wane.

The price valued the digital pin board company, which lets people save images and links from around the web, at $12.7 billion. That is a little above its last private fundraising round, which had pegged the company at $12 billion.

By selling at $19 a share, Pinterest raised $1.6 billion from big investors in the offering. The shares will begin trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PINS.

Pinterest’s pricing could bode well for the many “unicorns” — startups worth more than $1 billion — that are rushing to the public markets. It follows a rocky debut for the ride-hail company Lyft, which went public March 28.

After a euphoric spike on its first day of trading, Lyft’s shares promptly sank below their IPO price. The company is still worth more than it was in the private market, but investors who bought into the IPO are under water and may not want to take on more risk in startups like Pinterest.

“Coming out of Lyft, there was a lot of drama and concern around the appetite investors had for these money-losing businesses,” said Vincent Ning, director of research at Titan Invest, an investment manager.

He said Lyft might have been too aggressive on its pricing, which led Pinterest to take a more conservative tack. Ning predicted that that strategy would result in an uptick in Pinterest shares after the IPO.

That appetite will be tested in the coming weeks. Uber, the giant ride-hailing firm and the most prominent player to emerge from this wave of startups, will start meeting with investors to sell its shares. Slack, a workplace collaboration company, and Postmates, a food delivery company, are also expected to unveil their IPO plans.

©2019 New York Times News Service

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