Ruggedized sports and outdoor camera maker GoPro priced its IPO successfully yesterday, achieving a per share unit price of US$24, which was at the top of its expected range. The public are taking on 17.8 million shares under the IPO, paying a total of US$427 million for the privilege.
Half of the shares will be new treasury shares of the company, putting US$213 million into GoPro’s coffers gross, before costs and expenses of the issue. Shares satisfying the balance of the offering are coming from a number of selling shareholders, including the company’s founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman and his family.
At the IPO price the company’s market capitalization will be almost US$3.1 billion when the shares are admitted for trading shortly, reflecting the surge in tech IPO activity that has resurfaced after a lull over the last few months. GoPro also had an advantage, in what had become a slightly more cautious investment climate, in that it has already become solidly profitable though other tech IPOs are it seems also roaring back this week.
Nicholas Woodman, and his family offered 3.56 million shares themselves as part of the GoPro IPO, which now will net them more than US$80 million. Even after the dilution of his holdings Woodman will retain control through multiple voting Class B shares – a mechanism that somewhat regrettably has become something of a common feature of the tech scene these days.
The company’s wearable HERO line of ruggedized high-res video cams are designed to be used by professional, and keen amateur, sportsmen and women, and by outdoor enthusiasts. These have become ubiquitous and are sold in sporting, photographic and other specialty stores everywhere.
Demand for the offering was expected to be strong after GoPro had an excellent 2013 financial year. In its first quarter financial report for 2014, however, the company had recorded an almost 8% fall in revenue, from US$255 million to US$236 million, and a much bigger, 52%, fall in net income from US$23 million to just US$11 million.
Clearly the market bought into the excuses the company has offered for this blip in its performance and is looking now further ahead. GoPro will now trade as a publicly listed entity on Nasdaq, under the symbol GPRO.
Looking to the future, in order to avoid simply being knocked off as a hardware maker in an area with few barriers to entry, Woodman is trying to position GoPro as a media creator in addition to being a hardware company, though that is certainly a big ask.
To run the business day to day Woodman has brought in former Microsoft executive Tony Bates who will serve as the company’s new President, and a guy from Qualcomm, Jack Lazar, was also hired in February to be the Chief Financial Officer, as well. Lazar’s first job has been manage the share issue, and now he will be there to ensure future financial and administrative compliance, in the sometimes unwelcome spotlight as a public company.
JP Morgan have been lead Underwriters for the offering, aided and abetted by Citigroup and Barclays as co-managers. The Underwriters have a 15% Underwriter’s over-allotment option at the same issue price, the shares for which, to the extent this is exercised, will come from selling shareholders other than Woodman and his family.