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Slack files to go public

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Slack, the ubiquitous workplace messaging tool, on Friday filed to go public via a direct stock listing.

Why it matters: Slack is one of the hottest names in enterprise software, most recently valued at over $7 billion by venture capitalists, causing some speculation that it could receive a major acquisition offer before or after the listing.

  • The direct listing is different from an IPO in that Slack itself isn't selling shares to the public.
  • Instead, shares are being sold by insiders like early employees and investors.
  • This is similar to what Spotify did last April, and Slack is using some of the same Wall Street banks.
  • It disclosed that $100 million of shares would be sold, but that's almost certainly a placeholder figure.

Slack plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol SK, likely sometime next month.

It reports a $138 million net loss on $400 million of revenue for 2018, compared to a $140 million net loss on $221 million in revenue for 2017.

Founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield earned $10.4 million in 2018 compensation, almost all of which was in the form of stock.

The San Francisco-based company had raised around $1.2 billion in private funding from firms like Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Social Capital, SoftBank, Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins.