As markets brushed off a wildly volatile end to 2018, many investors were shaken as the New Year began.
But even uncertain investors knew one thing: 2019’s upcoming initial public offerings would include a ton of high-profile, world-class young companies that don’t come around too often. Many, like Uber, Lyft, WeWork, and Pinterest, were worth more than $10 billion. Before the end of May, it was clear that 2019 would be a special one for IPOs, with plenty of headline-grabbing surprises, from disappointments to unforeseen winners and everything in between. Here are 10 of 2019’s most anticipated upcoming IPOs, for better or worse.
One of the hottest upcoming IPOs of 2019 is Slack. The popular workplace messaging service has been openly planning its IPO since 2018. Slack plans to go public via a direct listing, meaning company insiders, investors and employees are the ones offering shares to the public. On the upside, direct listings reduce Wall Street fees. However, Slack itself won’t get any juicy IPO proceeds to grow its business. The Slack IPO is planned for June 20. Revenue grew 65% to roughly $134 million in the first quarter, while losses grew 50% to about $39 million. Money-losing tech companies, it seems, just love going public.
Potential 2019 IPO valuation: $17 billion
One of the few upcoming IPOs in 2019 expected to join Slack by listing directly is home-rental platform Airbnb. This makes more sense for Airbnb than for Slack, however, since Airbnb is regularly profitable on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization) basis. The hard work building a profitable, sustainable business is over, and Airbnb’s powerful network effect and brand have cemented it as the leading global marketplace for renters and leasers. Airbnb already reportedly boasts quarterly revenue above $1 billion and may still be growing 30% annually. It’s currently worth more than both Hilton Hotels (HLT) and Expedia (EXPE).
Potential 2019 IPO valuation: $38 billion
Co-founded by Peter Thiel, the legendary entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal (PYPL) and invested early in Facebook (FB) and Airbnb, Palantir is arguably the most mysterious of 2019’s top upcoming IPOs. A little mystery is unavoidable given the business: Palantir is a secretive data analytics and intelligence firm rumored to have played a big role in the 2011 Osama bin Laden takedown. Though Wall Street’s been abuzz about a Palantir IPO in the second half of 2019, there’s no guarantee. Its valuation is as mysterious as anything else about it. Recent estimates for Palantir range from $11 billion to $41 billion.
Potential 2019 IPO valuation: $11 billion to $41 billion
The no-fee trading platform Robinhood, which surpassed E-Trade (ETFC) in user count in 2018 only five years after forming, now has more than 5 million accounts. Robinhood is definitely mulling an IPO. The service revolutionized trading and is a favorite among millennials, earning its money from interest on account balances, margin trading and selling order flow to stock exchanges. Its latest funding round raised $363 million and gave Robinhood a $5.6 billion valuation. In November, Robinhood hired Amazon’s (AMZN) vice president of finance Jason Warnick as its chief financial officer, making Robinhood one of the biggest IPOs to watch in 2019.
Potential 2019 IPO valuation: $5.6 billion
Like many of the aforementioned tech “unicorns” on this IPO list, food delivery app Postmates began exploring the process of going public in fall 2018, consulting several banks about the underwriting process. Postmates’ most recent round of funding fetched a $1.85 billion valuation, making it one of the smaller companies on this list. Despite intense competition from GrubHub (GRUB), UberEats, DoorDash and others – and even considering Uber’s underwhelming IPO day – Postmates may want to go public before the bull market fizzles out. There’s no official date now but shares are expected to start trading in June or July.
Potential 2019 IPO valuation: $1.85 billion
After officially filing to go public in late April, shared office space startup WeWork is one of the most exciting upcoming IPOs to watch for in 2019. The trendy real estate company, which leases space in its sleek, open locations to small, medium and large businesses as well as freelancers and remote workers, more than doubled its revenue to $1.8 billion in 2018. Unfortunately, losses more than doubled too, reaching $1.9 billion. Even its biggest deep-pocketed investor SoftBank, which has sunk over $10 billion into WeWork, can’t finance its losses forever. Going public is best for all parties if WeWork is to last.
Potential 2019 IPO valuation: $47 billion
Lyft hasn’t just been racing Uber to adopt self-driving cars, drive down labor costs and break even; the last year’s been a win-at-all costs race to tap the public coffers before its biggest rival. Lyft won that battle, going public on March 29 at the IPO price of $72 a share. The ride-hailing company raised over $2.3 billion at a $24 billion valuation and shares finished their first day 9% higher. Since then, it’s been all downhill, falling over 40% in its first six weeks of trading. In under two months, about $9 billion had been shaved off of Lyft’s IPO market capitalization.
Final 2019 IPO valuation: $24.3 billion
By late 2018, rumors were swirling that Pinterest was nearing an IPO, perhaps even in the first quarter. The image search and sharing app didn’t make that deadline, but it went public at the end of April at $19 per share, or a $10 billion valuation. The wait was worth it: Its debut trading day on the New York Stock Exchange saw shares close 28% above the IPO price. While some irrational exuberance drove shares as high as $35 in the days that followed, even after coming down to earth, PINS stock trades well above its IPO price.
Final 2019 IPO valuation: $10 billion
In what has undoubtedly gone down as the most exciting IPO of 2019, this El Segundo, California-company founded in 2009 took Wall Street by storm when it went public on May 2. The unassuming food company, which makes “plant-based meats” that imitate popular meat products, raised about $240 million at $25 per share, or a $1.5 billion valuation. Investors couldn’t get enough of the stock though, and shares rocketed 163% higher on the first day of trading. Its premier product is the Beyond Burger, which sells at places like Whole Foods and TGI Fridays, to name a couple.
Final 2019 IPO valuation: $1.5 billion
Although Beyond Meat is the best IPO of 2019 to date, global ride-hailing giant Uber was easily the most anticipated upcoming IPO. Former Expedia Group CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was hired in 2017 to replace founder Travis Kalanick as the CEO amid a torrent of scandals. Years later, public relations issues still abound, including a driver strike days before Uber’s IPO. The offering once thought to fetch a $120 billion valuation went public at $45 per share, with an $82.4 billion valuation. Even then, it fell 7.6% on day one and another 10% the next trading day. The unprofitable ride-hailing company raised $8.1 billion.
Final 2019 IPO valuation: $82.4 billion
Source: U.S. & World Report News
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