Media

Pandora ups IPO price, valued nearly $2B

Online radio station Pandora increased the share price for its initial public offering today, bringing the company’s valuation to nearly $2 billion, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pandora’s shares will now debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and sell at a price between $10 and $12, up from the company’s original IPO pricing of between $7 and $9. That gave the company a valuation of $1.3 billion. LinkedIn also followed a similar strategy, ramping up its IPO pricing to increase its claimed valuation from $3 billion to $4 billion in less than two weeks.

Pandora will be another high-profile tech IPO on the NYSE and will join LinkedIn and Groupon — which just filed to go public — as part of the first wave of Web 2.0 companies hitting the public trading market. LinkedIn performed well on its first day of trading, reaching a valuation near $9 billion. Its share prices have since fallen significantly and the company now has a market cap of around $6.8 billion.

Pandora runs an online service that lets its users pick genres, songs and musical groups and then builds a radio station that caters to that style of music. Users can access the service through a website or a desktop application. Pandora also has applications for the iPhone, Google’s Android mobile operating system and other mobile devices.

The company now has about 94 million registered users and 800,000 songs in its online music library, according to its most recent filing. That’s up from 53 million users in the first quarter last year and 82 million registered users at the end of its 2011 fiscal year. Of those registered users, 34 million are considered active users as of the end of April — up from 18 million at the same time last year and 29 million at the end of its 2011 fiscal year.

Advertising has accounted for more than 90 percent of the online radio’s revenue for most of the site’s life, according to the filing. But revenue from Pandora’s subscriptions, which let users skip over advertisements while listening to music, has been growing steadily. Subscription revenue now accounts for around 15 percent of the site’s total revenue as of the end of April.

The company filed to go public with the ticker “P” in February. Like LinkedIn, Pandora’s valuation is another of the first actual records of some of the hyper-valuations some Web 2.0 companies have garnered in recent years before heading to a public stock exchange. Companies like Facebook and Zynga — and Pandora — have seen ballooning valuations as investors have rushed to snatch up as many shares as possible ahead of what could be some of the most high-profile tech IPOs to date. Facebook, for example, was valued at $50 billion after its most recent round of funding, although it is trading at a higher price than that on secondary markets.