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December 16, 2021updated 03 Feb 2022 10:15am

Reddit files for confidential IPO: What you need to know

By Eric Johansson

Social media platform Reddit has announced that it has filed for a confidential initial public offering (IPO), but has remained mum on the date of the float and the number of shares to be issued.

The news comes hot on the heels of Reddit’s recent $700m Series F investment round in August. As Verdict reported at the time, the raise was seen as another step towards the company finally going public. However, Reddit stayed secretive at the time about its plans.

Now, it has made a bare-minimum disclosure by saying that it has filed for a confidential IPO. This means that the company has filed a confidential Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). By doing so, Reddit can ensure that no details about the inner workings of the process will be released to the public until both the company and the SEC are happy for the float to go ahead.

Stock-trading app Robinhood and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase are two other companies that have also used this option to ensure their finances stayed within company walls until they were ready to let the public know about them.

This approach is typically used to avoid the intense scrutiny and subsequent bad press that WeWork, for example, succumbed to the first time that company attempted to go public.

“The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined,” Reddit said in a statement. “The initial public offering is expected to occur after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”

While details are scarce, a Reuters report from September suggested that Reddit was hoping for a valuation of more than $15bn at IPO. At the time of its Series F round, Reddit said it had passed the $10bn valuation mark.

First the GameStop chaos, then the Reddit IPO

Reddit was famously the chosen communications platform for the small investors behind the GameStop trading chaos earlier this year. The memestock commotion started on the WallStreetBets subreddit and shaved billions of dollars off Wall Street short-sellers’ profits. The episode highlights the way in which Reddit has managed to diversify itself from companies like Meta, Twitter and ByteDance.

“Reddit is a unique platform compared to other social media sites such as Facebook,” Jaimini Pattani, analyst at GlobalData, told Verdict in at the time of its Series F. “Reddit allows users to engage in topics they are passionate about with the community of others.”

These communities are also the reason why the WallStreetBets subreddit had such an impact. Since the GameStop chaos occurred, more Reddit communities interested in different aspects of financial services have sprung up on the platform. This could potentially signal that Reddit is about to become even more important for financial services, especially ones targeting younger customers.

“We are likely to see more crypto firms and communities use Reddit as they use it to discuss what they think will happen with bitcoin and new cryptos, but as usual, it’s speculative,” Pattani said. “Newer fintech firms will likely start using it more as a platform to engage with younger customers to expand their customer base and get a feel for what potential customers think of their business models and offerings.”