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SPOTIFY CLOSES AT $149.01 (UPDATE)

 

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Spotify closed at $149.01 on the first day of its direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Nearly 30 million shares were exchanged in just over three hours of trading, giving the company a valuation of $26.5 billion.

Trading began just before 12:45pm today, as about $1b worth of stock was soldin the first 15 minutes, starting at $165.90 per share. The stock went as high as $169 and dipped to $148.26 about 20 minutes before the closing bell. 

Prior to opening, the NYSE had set Spotify's reference price at $132 per share, giving it a valuation of $24 billion. That moved from a $145-$155 window to $167-$170 before a last-minute shift pushed the price to $165.90. 

Analysts were  wondering if there would be enough supply to meet demand, and speculated the price could head toward $200 a share. That did not occur.

More importantly, the valuation of Daniel Ek's company has settled into a sweet spot on day one, reaching nearly $30 billion after opening at around $24b and closing at $26.5b. 

Reading into day one’s price dip of about $16 suggests that investors are hesitant on several levels. For one, the company has yet to turn a profit. Secondly, Spotify has a position as disruptor/savior for the music industry yet its opportunity for growth appears limited. And the tech sector has been having a rough go of it for the last week or so thanks to everything from threatened regulations to Congressional investigations.

Investors look at the hard numbers, and despite the impressive turnaround of the last two years, the recorded music industry is not posting the numbers it once did. The investment houses, too, clearly have questions about whether Spotify can continue to be a game-changer since it does not control content.

The relationship between streaming services and the content owners is in its infancy—one recent analogy was “we’re in the second inning”—and caution became the buzzword of the day.

Key for the week will be whether the trading is steady and Spotify's market valuation holds to the range analysts gave it when it was private. Basically, is it still worth around $25 billion.

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