In its first day on the New York Stock Exchange, workplace messaging company Slack leapt over 50 per cent above its reference price of $26 (£20) per share despite employing an unusual, less costly strategy to debut on the market.
Across a few hours of trading, Slack’s total value soared to $23.1 billion (£18.13 billion), while concurrently making what were, respectively, supposed to be the year’s blockbuster IPOs look like absolute dogpoo.
In short, it opted to go public through a “direct listing” rather than the splashy Initial Public Offerings favoured by many growth-hungry tech companies.
In this schema, companies aren’t seeking to raise additional capital by creating new shares so much as they’re allowing shareholders (employees and third parties alike) to trade their existing slivers of the company on the open market.
Importantly, with a direct listing, it also dodges the expenses and fees involved with using investment banks as underwriters.
Music streaming service Spotify made waves last year when it opted for the same strategy, and hewed close to its $132 (£103) per share list price, neither “popping” or crashing as more erratic IPOs have a tendency to do.