Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Warner Music to float in US in first big-name launch since pandemic | The Guardian

The first big-name flotations since the coronavirus pandemic hit the world’s financial markets are due in New York later this week as Warner Music and the data firm ZoomInfo Technologies, with a combined value of $20bn (nearly £16bn), get set to list their shares.

Warner Music, the world’s third-biggest record company, home to artists including Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Dua Lipa, is to list on the US Nasdaq on Wednesday at a valuation of as much as $13.3bn.

The business, owned by the billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, who also controls the London-based sports streaming service Dazn, will be the largest initial public offering of the year.

The coronavirus pandemic has failed to dent the streaming revolution, which has transformed the fortunes of record companies facing the inexorable decline of CD sales. Warner Music’s streaming revenues have risen 12% in April alone.

The music company is targeting a price of between $23 and $26 per share, which would value it at between $11.7bn and $13.3bn, and raise about $1.8bn.

The coronavirus has also failed to derail the technology sector, with ZoomInfo Technologies indicating that its IPO on Thursday will exceed its target range of $16-$18 per share. It is selling 44.5m shares.

The Vancouver-based marketing data company – not to be confused with the lockdown video conferencing phenomenon Zoom Video – will be the biggest new technology listing of the year.

ZoomInfo, which mines public data from information on private companies and their management to sell on to marketing specialists, hopes to raise about $800m, which would give the company a market value near $7bn.

The company laid off 100 employees because of the impact of coronavirus. ZoomInfo has said it expects to see “slowed growth or decline in new customer demand for our platform” because of the pandemic, and less use from existing customers.

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