Dropbox Said to File Confidentially for US IPO

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Dropbox Said to File Confidentially for US IPO
  • Dropbox is currently valued at about $10 billion
  • It is one of the closely watched group of firms with an anticipated IPO
  • Non-public filings have become more common since July

Dropbox, the file-sharing private company valued at $10 billion (roughly Rs. 63,500 crores), has filed confidentially for a US initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase will lead the potential listing, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the filing wasn't public. Dropbox is talking to other banks this month to fill additional roles on the IPO, the people said. The company is aiming to list in the first half of this year, one of the people said.

Representatives for Dropbox, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan declined to comment.

A share sale by San Francisco-based Dropbox, one of a closely watched group of high-profile private tech companies with multibillion-dollar valuations, would follow Snap's disappointing step into the public markets. How the stock fares post-listing will be an ongoing focus for both Wall Street and the tech community. Snap shares are down 15 percent from its IPO last March.

Unlike money-losing Snap, Dropbox will come to the table with annualized sales of more than $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,350 crores), Chief Executive Officer Drew Houston said in an interview last year. It's also been profitable, excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Those benchmarks are the product of more than two years of focusing the company, expanding its product suite for businesses and reining in expenses, Houston said at the time.

Dropbox could be one of the biggest US enterprise technology companies to list domestically in recent years. First Data went public at a market value of about $14 billion (roughly Rs. 89,000 crores) in 2015 -- the biggest such IPO in the past five years.

Dropbox joins a growing list of large tech companies preparing to go public in the US early this year. Apollo Global Management's security company ADT is aiming to raise as much as $2.1 billion (roughly Rs. 13,000 crores) in an IPO expected to price on January 18. Spotify, owner of the world's largest paid music service, plans to execute its unconventional direct listing this quarter, a person familiar with the matter said this month.

Non-public filings have become more common since July, when the Securities and Exchange Commission began allowing all companies to file early IPO documents confidentially -- a perk previously reserved for smaller businesses.

Dropbox achieved its $10 billion (roughly Rs. 63,500 crores) private valuation in its last private funding round in 2014. While it's uncertain whether the company will be able to initially sell shares above that valuation, the stock could trade higher once it's public, the people said.

As of August, Dropbox had 500 million users, including 200,000 businesses, storing and sharing files online through its cloud service. The service lets companies keep documents in a commonly accessible place without having to build their own server farms. The company will have to show potential investors how it's differentiating its core file-sharing products and newer collaboration tools from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Box.

Dropbox is likely to tout its biggest investment in recent years: its own cloud. It's spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build data centres and mostly wean itself off of Amazon.com's servers, a rare feat for a software business with hundreds of millions of users. That's made it easier for Dropbox to cut costs while speeding file transfers, Chief Operating Officer Dennis Woodside said in an interview last year.

The two lead banks have a history of working with Dropbox. Goldman Sachs advised the company on earlier funding rounds and extended the company credit, while JPMorgan led a $600 million (roughly Rs. 3,800 crores) credit line to Dropbox last year, the people said.

Taking on the risk of lending to a private company can typically help a firm's chances in underwriting an eventual IPO. JPMorgan led a credit line extended to Dropbox, along with Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Group and Royal Bank of Canada, people familiar with the matter said last March.

Goldman Sachs had been helping the company prepare IPO documents.

© 2018 Bloomberg LP


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