Image sharing website Pinterest files for IPO

March 25, 2019 07:21
Pinterest was valued at US$12 billion in its last fundraising round in 2017. Photo: Reuters

Pinterest Inc, the owner of the image search website known for the food and fashion photos that its users post, filed for an initial public offering with US regulators on Friday, Reuters reports.

The filing comes a day after jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co’s blockbuster debut, and ride-hailing service providers Lyft and Uber are set to pursue much-anticipated listings. Investors are anticipating 2019 may be one of the most active years ever for tech IPOs.

Pinterest, which plans to list under the symbol “PINS” on the New York Stock Exchange, set a placeholder amount of US$100 million to indicate the size of the IPO. The final size will change.

Reuters reported in January Pinterest could raise around US$1.5 billion.

The San Francisco-based company was valued at US$12 billion in its last fundraising round in 2017.

It has grown rapidly since its founding in 2008, boasting in the regulatory filing that it reaches more than 250 million monthly active users, two-thirds of whom are female.

Pinterest said its annual revenue in 2018 was US$755.9 million, up 60 percent compared with 2017. Nevertheless, it remains unprofitable with a net loss of US$62.97 million, narrowing from a net loss of US$130 million a year earlier.

Like Lyft, Pinterest plans to go public with a dual-class share structure to concentrate voting power with Class B shareholders, which include co-founder, president and chief executive Benjamin Silbermann.

However, Pinterest said Class B shares will automatically convert into common shares seven years after the IPO. This conversion will not take effect if these Class B stockholders continue to own at least 50 percent of their shares held at the time of the IPO.

This follows a trade group representing top US pension funds and asset managers asking exchanges to require companies seeking to go public with share classes with unequal voting rights to have plans to equalize them within seven years.

Investors focused on corporate governance have criticized dual-class share structures after the likes of Snapchat parent Snap Inc and meal-kit maker Blue Apron Holdings went public since with little or no voting representation for certain investors.

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are the lead underwriters on the Pinterest IPO.

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