Roblox Corp. RBLX, scored a reference price of $45 a share from the New York Stock Exchange late Tuesday as the tween-centric gaming platform prepares to go public through a direct listing on Wednesday.
On the NYSE’s website, the exchange said the company’s stock will begin trading under the ticker “RBLX” on Wednesday, adding that the reference price is not an offering price, which will be determined by buy and sell orders collected from broker-dealers.
Direct listings differ from initial public offerings because they are not backed by underwriters as current stakeholders convert their ownership into stock based on trading prices in private markets. The company pivoted to plans for a direct listing from a planned IPO back in January after getting a fresh venture-capital infusion of $520 million that valued the company at $29.5 billion.
Roblox reported revenue of $923.9 million and a loss of $257.7 million in 2020, compared with revenue of $508.4 million in revenue and a loss of $71 million in 2019, and revenue of $325 million and a loss of $88.1 million in 2018. The company seeks to grow out its business by retaining its pre-teen users as they grow older while appealing to new users already in their teens or young adulthood.
In its latest filing, Roblox said nearly 199 million Class A shares have been registered for resale, for a total of about 388.2 million available. The public debut of Roblox has been anticipated since word of an IPO began circulating in October.
The past 12 months have been kind to companies going public. The Renaissance IPO ETF IPO, +6.59% has surged nearly 130%, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.42% has risen 41% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +3.69% has gained 64%.
More and more companies have opted for direct listings to go public, such as Spotify Technology SA SPOT, +5.90%, Asana Inc. ASAN, +10.65%, and Palantir Technologies Inc. PLTR, +7.73%. Grocery-delivery company Instacart is reportedly considering the direct-listing route while Coinbase Global Inc. has already announced its intentions.