initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Roblox postpones its IPO until next year

The company’s co-founder and chief executive, David Baszucki, announced the decision in a memo to employees on Friday, saying that waiting provided “an opportunity to improve our specific process for employees, shareholders and future investors both big and small.”

DoorDash, the country’s largest food-delivery company, started trading Wednesday with an I.P.O. price of $102, but ended the day up 86 percent, closing at $189.51 per share. The next day, Airbnb, a home rental company, rose 113 percent on its first day of trading, from $68 to $144.71 per share.

Roblox has exploded in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic, especially among children. In an offering prospectus last month, it said it averaged 31.1 million daily active users in the first nine months of 2020, up 82 percent from a year earlier, but had lost $203 million in the same period. Inside the Roblox online universe, players’ avatars can interact and play millions of unique games set in different worlds, from tropical islands to haunted castles. Players pay money for premium memberships, as well as for items and clothing for their avatars.

David Baszucki, the co-founder and CEO of Roblox

Even so, the company lost money. Its net loss totaled $203 million in the first nine months of 2020, more than four times the $46 million it lost in the same period a year ago. Roblox also warned that it was unlikely to experience the same growth when the pandemic subsides, warning that the surge was “almost certainly not indicative of our financial and operating results in future periods.”

In a letter in the prospectus, David Baszucki, a Roblox founder and now its chief executive, wrote, “Our original vision to make Roblox a platform for shared experiences is now leading the way for a new category we call human co-experience.” He added, “Our vision for the future of our platform has never been more real and attainable.”

In total, 41 tech companies have gone public in the United States so far this year, raising $17.7 billion, according to Renaissance Capital.

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