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Exclusive-Reddit seeks to launch IPO in March - sources

Published 01/20/2024, 03:20 AM
Updated 01/20/2024, 03:26 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Reddit app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
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By Echo Wang and Anirban Sen

(Reuters) - Social media platform Reddit has drawn up detailed plans to launch its initial public offering (IPO) in March, moving forward with a listing it has been eyeing for more than three years, according to people familiar with the matter.

It would be the first IPO of a major social media company since Pinterest (NYSE:PINS)'s debut in 2019, and would come as Reddit and its peers face stiff competition for advertising dollars from the likes of TikTok and Facebook.

The offering would also test the willingness of some Reddit users to back the company's stock market debut. Many investors posting on the platform have helped fuel dozens of "meme" stock rallies in the last three years, from retailer GameStop (NYSE:GME) to movie operator AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) Holdings.

Reddit, which filed confidentially for its IPO in December 2021, is planning to make its public filing in late February, launch its roadshow in early March, and complete the IPO by the end of March, two of the sources said.

The San Francisco-based company, which was valued at about $10 billion in a funding round in 2021, is seeking to sell about 10% of its shares in the IPO, the sources added. It will decide on what IPO valuation it will pursue closer to the time of the listing, according to the sources.

The sources cautioned that Reddit's IPO plans could be pushed back, as has happened in the past, and asked not to be identified discussing confidential deliberations.

A Reddit spokesperson declined to comment.

Founded in 2005 by web developer Steve Huffman and entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, Reddit became best known for its niche discussion groups and its users voting "up" or "down" on the content posted by other members.

The company, which generates its revenue primarily through advertising and also offers premium access for $5.99 per month, has yet to turn a profit, Huffman said in a Reddit post last June.

In the past, the company has attributed its losses to investing in the platform and its users engaging less with advertising on its site than other social media.

The company held back from pulling the IPO trigger until it came closer to profitability. Bouts of market volatility that shut down the IPO market for much of the last two years also contributed to it delaying its plans.

Reddit expected to generate slightly over $800 million in advertising revenue in 2023, up more than 20% from a year earlier, The Information reported last month.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Reddit app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Reddit said last year it would charge companies for access to its application programming interface (API), which is used by technology companies to train large-language models used in artificial intelligence. The move upset some users who rely on third-party apps to access Reddit.

Large social media stocks have rebounded over the past year, driven mainly by a rally in technology stocks as interest rates peaked. Shares of Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META), which operates Facebook, have more than trebled in value over the past 12 months, while Snap's shares rose 60% over the same period.

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