Streaming television hardware and platform provider Roku Inc has set its IPO price at $14 a share, giving the company unicorn status with a valuation of around $1.3bn.
As the shares get ready to hit the market on 28 September 2017, investors will be tuning in to see how they do in a sector currently outperforming the rest of the market. Tech has climbed 5.4% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial average has climbed 4.6% (as of last Tuesday).
The company is looking to raise around $120m through the share issue with additional shares from early investors Menlo Ventures and Sky Ventures Ltd being sold as part of the listing. Underwriters Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Allen & Co LLC and RBC Capital Markets have the right to purchase additional shares should they wish to.
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California-based Roku was founded in 2007 as a secret project of Netflix with the code name 'Griffin'. Netflix initially invested $5.7m into the company but sold its stake in 2009, citing a potential conflict of interest with other streaming media hardware providers including Apple. Netflix reportedly made a pre-tax gain of $1.7m on the sale, a profit that would have been several times that figure had they held on to the shares until IPO. Interestingly, Roku is still headquartered within Netflix-owned buildings.
Revenues for Roku rose 25% in 2016 and 23% for the first half of 2017, reaching $199.7m. These figures are composed of both hardware sales (which fell 2% in the first half of 2017) and platform revenue, which includes ad sales, software licensing and other channel items – which rose 91% in the same period. The increase in revenue has helped Roku cut losses by $9m to just $24.2m. The company has only reported one profitable quarter in its entire existence, which was $3.2m in the fourth quarter of 2016.
While the company has found it difficult to turn a profit, the customer base is growing and the amount of content streamed through it has risen to an incredible 6.74bn hours of programming in the first six months of 2017. That works out to roughly 2.45 hours a day for every active user. An astonishing statistic which begs the question, who is still watching standard TV when they have a streaming device like Roku?
The company will trade under the ticker ROKU on NASDAQ.