Music streaming company Spotify pushed ahead with plans to hold an initial public offering (IPO) in H1 2018 via an unconventional route, after confidentially filing for a direct listing with US regulators.
The company filed to hold the direct listing – a process which is largely uncommon – on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Reuters reported.
While companies typically do not hold direct listings (such a move has never occurred on the NYSE), the approach would indicate a company is not looking to raise money or create awareness, something usually achieved via an IPO. A direct listing would enable a company to avoid underwriting fees and restrictions on stock sales by current owners, and also means the holdings of executives and investors will not be diluted.
News of Spotify’s aim to go public was revealed in 2017, but the company attracted regulatory scrutiny because it wanted to bypass the regular route of holding a share sale.
Sources told CNBC the company had been trying to confidentially file its listing since October, but it did not have clearance from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) until now. Reuters added the SEC now allows all companies to file a draft IPO registration confidentially before they are required to unveil any financial numbers.
Spotify was valued at around $19 billion in 2017, but it is currently facing increased competition from rivals Apple Music and Amazon.
News of its confidential filing comes a week after the streaming service was sued by Wixen Music Publishing, which alleges Spotify used thousands of songs without a licence and is seeking compensation of $1.6 billion.