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

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Energy deputy secretary nominee in hot water after contradicting Trump

Mark Menezes speaks at a forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 12. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Trump administration officials are internally raising concerns about President Trump’s nominee for Energy deputy secretary, who appeared to openly contradict the president on nuclear waste storage at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain last week.

Driving the news: While speaking at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last Wednesday, Mark Menezes told members of the panel that the Trump administration is still interested in storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and that “what we're trying to do is to put together a process that will give us a path to permanent storage at Yucca."

Exclusive: Pompeo says new China media restrictions "long overdue"

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The State Department announced Tuesday that it has designated five Chinese state media outlets as "foreign missions," meaning that they will be treated as arms of the Chinese government.

Driving the news: In his first public statement on the new designation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells Axios that the five outlets are "clearly controlled by the [Chinese Communist Party], and we are simply recognizing that fact by taking this action.”

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Trump pardons the swamp

Rod Blagojevich in 2010. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump announced Tuesday that he would commute former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption — as well as issue full pardons for former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.

The big picture: The president's clemency spree largely benefitted white-collar criminals convicted of crimes like corruption, gambling fraud and racketeering, undercutting his message of "draining the swamp."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy