Technology

Reddit files to list IPO on NYSE under the ticker RDDT

Budrul Chukrut | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Social media company Reddit filed its IPO prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday after a yearslong run-up. The company plans to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “RDDT.”

Reddit said it had $804 million in annual sales for 2023, up 20% from the $666.7 million it brought in the previous year, according to the filing. The social networking company’s core business is reliant on online advertising sales stemming from its website and mobile app.

The company said it has incurred net losses since its inception. It reported a net loss of $90.8 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2023, compared to a net loss of $158.6 million the year prior.

As of the fourth quarter of 2023, Reddit said that its U.S. average revenue per user, or ARPU, was $5.51, which was down from $5.92 from the previous year. The company’s ARPU was $3.42, which was a 2% year-over-year decline from $3.49.

Reddit said that by 2027, the company estimates that its “total addressable market globally from advertising, excluding China and Russia, to be $1.4 trillion.” Currently, Reddit said that advertising market is $1.0 trillion, sans China and Russia.

The company said it is building its “search capabilities,” and that it can “more fully address the $750 billion opportunity in search advertising that S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates the market to be in 2027.”

Reddit also detailed its plans to use artificial intelligence technologies to improve its ad business and expects “to open additional monetization channels for Reddit by providing our users and creators with the requisite tools and incentives to drive continued creation, improvements, and commerce.”

It is also “in the early stages” of developing and monetizing a data-licensing business, in which third-parties would be allowed to “access, search, and analyze data on our platform.”

“In January 2024, we entered into certain data licensing arrangements with an aggregate contract value of $203.0 million and terms ranging from two to three years,” Reddit said, regarding its data-licensing business. “We expect a minimum of $66.4 million of revenue to be recognized during the year ending December 31, 2024 and the remaining thereafter.”

Reddit said that its non-employed moderators known as Redditors will be able to participate in the company’s initial public offering through its “directed share program.” Because of this, Reddit said that it’s possible for “individual investors, retail or otherwise constituting a larger proportion of the investors participating in this offering than is typical for an initial public offering.”

“These factors could cause volatility in the market price of our Class A common stock,” the company said in the filing, adding that it has three classes of authorized common stock, which are Class A common stock, Class B common stock, and Class C common stock.

“The rights of the holders of Class A common stock, Class B common stock, and Class C common stock are identical, except with respect to voting and conversion rights,” the filing said. “Each share of Class A common stock is entitled to one vote. Each share of Class B common stock is entitled to 10 votes and is convertible at any time into one share of Class A common stock. Each share of Class C common stock is entitled to no votes.”

Reddit said it has over 100,000 communities, 73 million average daily active uniques (DAUq) and 267 million average weekly active uniques.

In a section about the company’s risks, Reddit explained how its daily active unique figures “may fluctuate or decrease in one or more markets from time to time due to various factors.”

“For example, although we saw increased growth in our user base during the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced lower levels of DAUq growth and declining DAUq as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic subsided,” the filing said. “DAUq has also declined in the past in periods following usage peaks surrounding certain worldwide events, such as the onset of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the three months ended March 31, 2022, and cultural trends, including video game releases, such as Elden Ring in the three months ended March 31, 2022, and traffic related to r/wallstreetbets in the three months ended March 31, 2021.”

Its market debut, expected in March, will mark the first major tech initial public offering of the year. It’s the first social media IPO since Pinterest went public in 2019.

Reddit first filed a confidential draft of its public offering prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission in December 2021.

The social media company, founded in 2005 by technology entrepreneurs Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, has raised about $1.3 billion in funding and has a post valuation of $10 billion, according to deal-tracking service PitchBook.

Publishing giant Condé Nast bought Reddit in 2006 and then spun it out as an independent company in 2011.

Reddit is one of the most-visited websites in the U.S., according to analytics firm Semrush, but it has struggled to build an online advertising business comparable to tech giants like Facebook-parent Meta and Google-parent Alphabet.

It’s also faced challenges with developers and moderators.

In June, several prominent Reddit moderators locked subreddits as part of a blackout to protest the company’s decision to increase the price third-party developers pay to use its application programming interface, or API. At the time, Reddit said the pricing change was necessary because many big tech companies were using data to train large language models.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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