Jun 20, 2019

Bypassing traditional IPO, Slack to start trading via direct listing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Slack Technologies, the workplace chat service, will go public on the New York Stock Exchange today via a direct listing.

Why it matters: It's only the second direct listing from a major tech company and the first from a non-consumer service (Spotify blazed the trail last year). And if it’s a success, it could push Airbnb closer to taking the same path.

  • The NYSE issued a $26 per share reference price last night, which would give the company a valuation of $16 billion, though it's just a suggestion and could ultimately start trading at a lower or higher price.

What's happening: Slack isn't using underwriters, nor issuing new stock, in the manner of a traditional IPO.

  • That also means it's not raising new capital — and it doesn't really need to.  
  • Instead, it's effectively allowing existing stockholders to begin trading their shares on the public markets.
  • Slack's bankers, advisers, and market maker will figure out an initial price based on trade orders tomorrow — meaning, they will see how much demand there is.
  • Also, Slack stockholders are not subject to the usual lock-up periods, which means employees, for example, will get to cash out (if they want).

Be smart: Insiders will be watching the volatility of Slack's price. They will want to keep the ride smooth.

Go deeper: Direct listings challenge benefits of traditional IPOs for unicorns

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Autopsies say George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

The latest: An updated official autopsy released by the Hennepin County medical examiner also determined that the manner of Floyd's death was "homicide," ruling it was caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdued, restraint, and neck compression."

The Biden-Trump split screen

Photos via Getty Images: Jim Watson/AFP (L); Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency (R)

The differences between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Trump are plain as day as the two respond to recent protests.

Why it matters: Americans are seeing firsthand how each presidential nominee responds to a national crisis happening during a global pandemic.

Louisville police chief fired after body cameras found inactive in shooting of black man

Louisville police officers during protests. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer fired the city's chief of police Steve Conrad after it was discovered that police officers had not activated their body cameras during the shooting of David McAtee, a local black business owner who was killed during protests early Monday morning.

Why it matters: Mandatory body camera policies have proven to be important in efforts to hold police officers accountable for excessive force against civilians and other misconduct. Those policies are under even greater scrutiny as the nation has erupted in protest over the killing of black people at the hands of police.