Eventbrite surges in market debut
Maureen FarrellWall Street Journal
Eventbrite Inc. shares jumped sharply in their market debut Thursday, reflecting strong early demand from investors in the ticketing and event-services company.
The shares recently traded at $36.95 (U.S.), up 61% from the stock’s initial public offering price.
Eventbrite’s IPO raised $230 million in proceeds after it priced at the high-end of its range between $21 a share and $23 a share. That range was raised earlier this week from its prior target between $19 and $21 each.
The stock-price bump pegged Eventbrite’s valuation near $3.5 billion on a fully diluted basis.
A flurry of companies are pursuing IPOs this year. According to Dealogic, IPO activity on U.S. exchanges is at its highest level since 2014.
Investors have shown a hunger for the growth that can come with emerging technology firms such as Eventbrite, which uses its tech platform to help users with the managing and ticketing of their live events.
Newly public tech companies have posted stellar performances in 2018, far outpacing gains in broader stock indexes, on average. So far this year, U.S.-listed technology and internet companies are up an average of 48% from their IPO prices, according to Dealogic. U.S.-listed IPOs are up 29%.
Eventbrite is trading under the symbol EB on the New York Stock Exchange. The company sold 10 million Class A shares for $23 each and it plans to use proceeds from the offering to pay down debt and other corporate purposes.
San Francisco-based Eventbrite was co-founded in 2006 by Julia Hartz, Kevin Hartz and Renaud Visage. Since 2015, the company has bought seven companies including Ticketfly as part of its global growth ambitions.
“Live experiences are fundamental to fulfilling that undeniable human desire to understand and find acceptance both from within ourselves and among others,” according to a letter from the founders included as part of a recent Eventbrite securities filing. “From the first day we set out on this journey, that belief inspired our mission: to bring the world together through live experiences.”
Eventbrite reported a loss of $15.6 million on $142 million in revenue for the first half of 2018, compared with a loss of $8.3 million on $88 million in revenue for the first half of 2017.
After the offering Tiger Global Management and venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital are expected to retain roughly 21% and 20%, respectively, of voting control in the company. The Hartzes are each retaining about 17% voting control.