Thursday 20 June 2019 12:01 pm

Workplace messaging app Slack prepares to make stock exchange debut

Workplace messaging platform Slack will go public later today in a move that could value the firm at $16bn.

The tech company is preparing to launch a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, an alternative to an initial public offering (IPO) which will see shares of the company’s private investors become available for public trading.

Read more: Slack targets $195m in New York listing

Slack has set its reference price at $26 per share. However the reference price is not an offering price, the company said in a notice to the NYSE.

The opening public price will be determined by buy and sell orders collected by the NYSE from broker-dealers.

Spotify, the music streaming site, also opted for a direct listing last year.

The listing follows several high-profile tech IPO flops in the US. Image sharing app Pinterest and ride-hailing rivals Uber and Lyft both saw their shares depreciate considerably after their IPOs.

“How many more times will investors buy into brands that make no profit, while spending heavily on development for years and years?” Adam Bettese, Etoro analyst Adam Vettese said.

“This year’s big tech IPOs have been somewhat shaky, with Lyft, Uber and Pinterest all falling short of the heady heights that were predicted.

Read more: Slack files for IPO as it targets New York Stock Exchange debut

“This may have dampened the appetite for Slack, with some investors wary of having their fingers burned once again. For Slack, volatile market conditions might also scupper their hopes for a record-breaking direct listing.

“Yet shares on the private market show Slack could be valued at double the price at its last funding round, signalling significant investor interest.”

Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, added: “Given the solid risk appetite across the technology stocks, Slack could hope for a solid debut in New York.”