Spotify’s IPO confirms it’s worth more than Hewlett-Packard and General Mills

Falling on the charts.
Falling on the charts.
Image: Reuters/Lucas Jackson
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It’s time to turn up the dance music. Spotify began trading on the New York Stock Exchange today (April 3) and—despite weeks of wariness around the unusual structure of its public listing—the Swedish music-streaming company is being priced at around $166 a share, giving it a market cap of approximately $29.5 billion.

Estimates of Spotify’s valuation were at $20 billion in December, and that figure was closer to $8 billion in 2015, meaning it’s more than tripled in three years. Shares in the company had been trading between $90 and $132 on the private market over the past few months; pre-sale estimates this morning pegged the stock to open at $150 to $160 a share.

At today’s valuation, Spotify is officially bigger than some major companies, including Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, Yum Brands (which owns Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell), and Sirius XM.

It’s great news for Spotify, and even better news for the music industry—which has money and spirits alike riding on the IPO.

Spotify’s success today will likely also herald more interest from companies in the idea of direct listings, which bypass the usual dog-and-pony show—and also support—of an IPO. “Overall the street seems happy with how things are going so far. Good volume, and reasonable, but not crazy volatility post the open,” said Doug Clark, a managing director at brokerage ITG. “If this continues to be a fairly smooth trade, it will be interesting to see how the next unicorn decides to proceed. Compared to issues that open 50% or more above the IPO price, which is their own effective selling price, this is a very low-cost way to issue stock. I suspect we will see more issues in this vein.”

Jason Karaian and John Detrixhe contributed reporting.