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June 15, 2011

Pandora Raises Nearly $240 Million in Stunning IPO

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Online music service Pandora (News - Alert) raised a whopping $234.9 million in its initial public offering late on Tuesday as investors continued to bet big on fresh Internet stocks.

The offering helped raised the company about $96 million, plus another $139 million for existing stockholders. The $16 per share price tag (News - Alert) was double that of what the company expected to fetch just two weeks ago.

Pandora initially priced its stock at between $7 and $9 per share before raising its projection to a range of $10 to $12 per share. Even more amazing, the company's own board appraised the stock at just over $3 per share only six months ago, according to the Associated Press.

The Oakland, California company's IPO price is especially astounding considering the company has yet to turn a profit. Since its inception 11 years ago, Pandora has lost a total of $92 million, including $1.8 million in fiscal year 2011.

With an offering price of $16 per share, Pandora has a market value of around $2.6 billion, which is 19 times more than last year's revenue totals, according to Bloomberg. The Internet radio firm's sales reached $137.8 million in fiscal year 2011, up from $55.2 million the previous year.

Pandora's impressive offering was aided by a feverous appetite for new Internet stocks. Business networking site LinkedIn went public last month and saw its shares more than double in the first day of trading. However, LinkedIn shares closed at just over $76 on Tuesday, representing a near 20 percent dip since its first day on Nasdaq, says the AP.

“There’s pent-up demand for high-growth, exciting business models,” Scott Billeadeau, of Fifth Third Asset Management in Minneapolis, told Bloomberg (News - Alert). “There’s demand and there just aren’t many ways to get access to it. After LinkedIn, there’s definitely some chasing going on.”

The successful IPOs of LinkedIn and Pandora set the stage for possibly historic offerings from much more viable technology companies like GroupOn and Facebook (News - Alert), which are both expected to go public in the next 12 months. Just yesterday, MSNBC reported that Facebook could fetch a valuation of more than $100 billion when it IPOs in the first quarter of 2012.

Pandora stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday under the symbol “P.”

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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