In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Spotify Files for 'Risky' Public Offering

When it comes to making money in the stock market, timing is everything.

"Buy low, sell high" is an oversimplification for the average investor. Indeed, the market can become quite complicated in an age when companies can make or lose billions in one day of trading.

Spotify, the music streaming service, just revealed it hopes to trade at least $1 billion in shares in an initial public offering. Could a $1.6 billion lawsuit have anything to do with it?

"Direct Listing"

In its filing, the company says it will not sell its shares on the stock market. Instead, under a "direct listing," existing shareholders will sell their stock to investors. According to reports, Spotify acknowledges that the unusual offering is "risky."

So far this year, Spotify says its shares have traded on private markets for between $90 and $132.50. That puts the company's value at a high of $23.4 billion.

The company says it is doing business in 61 countries with 159 million active users and 71 million premium users. Annual revenues have increased from $2.37 billion to almost $5 billion over the past three years, while losses were up to $1.46 billion last year.

Through all of its growing pains, Spotify is the "go-to streaming service for serious listeners amidst an unbelievably crowded field of competition," says TechCrunch. It is also a target for copyright complaints.

$1.6 Billion Question

Music companies and individuals have demanded more than one billion dollars from Spotify in their complaints. After Spotify settled with songwriters for $43 million in a class action last year, plaintiffs filed two more lawsuits against the company.

Then two days before New Year's Eve, a music publishing company sued Spotify for allegedly failing to properly license works. Wixen, the plaintiff in the latest lawsuit, wants a "total statutory award of at least $1.6 billion."

The Record called the timing of the suit "inauspicious" because Spotify had just filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its public offering. The IPO should take place in late March, early April.

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