Sun, Mar 24, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Pinterest applies for IPO


Evan Sharp, Pinterest cofounder and chief product officer, stands beside a wall of pegs symbolizing the company logo at Pinterest headquarters in San Francisco on Oct. 11 last year.

Photo: AP

Pinterest Inc, the online visual discovery platform with an estimated 250 million users, filed for a public share offering on Friday, the latest of the big venture-backed start-ups to hit Wall Street.

The San Francisco-based bulletin board that connects people with interests including food, fashion, travel and lifestyle said it would trade under the symbol PINS on the New York Stock Exchange.

“Pinterest is where more than 250 million people around the world go to get inspiration for their lives,” the company said in its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which is expected to seek a valuation of about US$12 billion.

“They come to discover ideas for just about anything you can imagine: daily activities like cooking dinner or deciding what to wear, major commitments like remodeling a house or training for a marathon, ongoing passions like fly fishing or fashion and milestone events like planning a wedding or a dream vacation,” it said.

Documents for the initial public offering (IPO) showed Pinterest lost US$63 million last year on revenue of US$755.9 million. That compared with a loss of US$130 million on US$473 million in 2017 revenue.

Launched in 2010, Pinterest brings in money from its role in online shopping and from advertising.

It becomes the latest of the richly valued tech start-ups worth more than US$1 billion, sometimes called “unicorns,” to hit Wall Street. Ride-hailing giant Lyft Inc is expected to begin trading next week and rival Uber Technologies Inc is likely to announce terms of its IPO soon.

Details of the Pinterest offering were absent, with a temporary placeholder sum of US$100 million to be raised, an amount likely to rise substantially.

Like several other start-ups, Pinterest will use a dual-class share structure that enables the founders, including chief executive officer Ben Silbermann, to retain control.

Research firm eMarketer expects Pinterest’s global ad revenue to hit US$1 billion this year, making up just 0.3 percent of the total digital ad spend.

Pinterest said in the filing that “substantially all” of its revenue comes from ads.

Risk factors cited by Pinterest included competitors mimicking its products well enough to lure away users.

The company also warned potential investors that while a Comscore study indicated that its US audience is 43 percent of Internet users, including about 80 percent of adult women with children, it will need to penetrate other demographics such as men and international users for growth.

Laws regarding data privacy or removing content could also hamper the online bulletin board, the filing said.

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