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Squarespace Shares Given $50 Reference Price for NYSE Debut

·3-min read

(Bloomberg) -- Website-hosting service Squarespace Inc. was assigned a reference price of $50 a share by the New York Stock Exchange as it prepares for its trading debut in a direct listing.

Squarespace’s shares will begin trading Wednesday without the company raising any capital. As with previous direct listings, the company won’t issue new shares at a set price. Instead, current investors can simply begin selling shares based on demand when trading opens.

The company is joining a cadre of technology-oriented firms that have gone public through direct listings, most recently cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. and online game maker Roblox Corp. this year. Palantir Technologies Inc. and Asana Inc. debuted through direct listings last year, following a trail blazed by Spotify Technology SA and Slack Technologies Inc. before them.

Led by founder and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Casalena, Squarespace competes against publicly traded rivals Wix.com Ltd. and GoDaddy Inc., among others. The New York-based company is backed by investors including General Atlantic, Index Ventures and Accel.

Setting a reference price is a requirement for trading to begin. Unlike the share price in a standard initial public offering, it isn’t a direct indicator of the company’s market capitalization because it’s a guide rather than a sale price. Still, at $50 a share, Squarespace would have a market value of about $6.8 billion based on the outstanding shares listed in its filings, not including employee stock options.

Squarespace raised funding in March at an enterprise value of $10 billion, an amount that would have included options and similar holdings.

While investment banks don’t underwrite direct listings as they do IPOs, they do advise the company on the listing. Squarespace is working with with banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., according to its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company’s shares are expected to trade on the NYSE under the symbol SQSP.

E-Commerce Expansion

Squarespace had 3.7 million unique subscriptions as of Dec. 31 and is expanding beyond web hosting to e-commerce, according to its filing.It had a net income of about $31 million on revenue of $621 million last year, compared with $58 million on revenue of $485 million in 2019, according to its filing.

Its e-commerce business had 2020 revenue of $143 million, a 78% increase over the previous year, according to the filing. Its growth plans include expanding it customer base -- especially internationally -- and deepening its commerce offerings.

The company acquired restaurant-services provider Tock for more than $400 million in March. Squarespace paid a mix of cash and stock for the Chicago-based company, which provides technology for online reservations, takeout and other services. That followed 2019 deals for Unfold Creative LLC and Acuity Scheduling Inc.

Squarespace will pursue strategic acquisitions to accelerate key platform, product and marketing initiatives, it said in its filing.

Casalena will continue to control the company through his 76% ownership of the company’s Class B shares, which carry 10 votes each compared with one each for the Class A shares that will be listed, according to the filings.

(Updates with revenue in eighth paragraph)

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