Reddit files paperwork to go public in 2022

Reddit Inc., whose message boards became the go-to destination for day traders during this year's meme stock frenzy, said on Wednesday it had confidentially filed for an initial public offering with U.S. securities regulators.

Most recent round of private funding valued company at $10 billion US

Reddit has filed paperwork to go public some time in 2022. The website was at the centre of a firestorm on stock markets this year as its users were instrumental in pumping up shares of several meme companies. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Reddit Inc., the preferred platform of day traders who pumped up meme stocks like GameStop and AMC to sky-high valuations this year, is going to go public.

The company announced it has confidentially submitted paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to go public and sell shares on a U.S. stock exchange next year.

In a short statement, the company gave few details of its plans beyond saying it has started the ball rolling on an initial public offering.

"The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined," the company said. "We are in a quiet period, and for regulatory reasons, we cannot say anything further."

In its last round of funding from private investors, the company was valued at $10 billion US. The company had previously signalled it hoped to obtain a valuation of about $15 billion US before going public.

Users have pushed rallies in so-called meme stocks

While Reddit has long been a popular digital gathering place for users to discuss any number of niche interests, it became a major player in the investment community during the pandemic thanks to a number of influential groups on the platform using their collective power to bid up prices in various shares.

The biggest such example was the saga of GameStop, the money-losing video game retailer that Redditors briefly pushed to a valuation of more than $17 billion by catching large institutional investors on the wrong side of a trade known as a short squeeze.

The group in question, WallStreetBets, has since been credited with pushing similar rallies in other so-called meme stocks such as movie chain AMC, retailer Bed Bath & Beyond and even BlackBerry.

When word of the company's IPO plans broke on Thursday, some Redditors joked about potentially pumping the offering when it became available.

"I'm in. When do we start?" a Reddit user called 9axle said in a post.

Online brokerage Robinhood Markets Inc., whose trading app was at the centre of the meme stock frenzy, had its IPO in July.

Trading from individual investors has soared during the pandemic, with market data suggesting it makes up as much as one fifth of all stock market activity right now.

Research from Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Larry Tabb says most institutional investors now keep an eye on activity on retail trading message board like Reddit for "clues" about sentiment.

"Few ... attempt to profit from this information, but most professional money managers don't want to get caught on the wrong end of a retail-investor wave," Tabb said.

Site has tens of millions of users

Founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, Reddit had roughly 52 million daily active users and over 100,000 communities, or "sub-reddits," as of October last year.

The San Francisco-based company reported $100 million in advertising revenue in the second quarter, an almost threefold jump from the same period last year.

Reddit's investors over the years have included venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, funds such as Sequoia Capital and Tencent Holdings, as well as rap superstar Snoop Dogg.

With files from Reuters

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