Spotify chose the sleepy week between Christmas and New Year’s to file confidential IPO documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a move that signals the music streaming leader is ready to list its stock directly onto the New York Stock Exchange in the coming months.
The filing was first reported by Axios and further confirmed by Bloomberg. Spotify declined to comment on the reports, which arrive on the heels of a massive $1.6 billion copyright lawsuit brought by Wixen Music Publishing.
According to sources, Spotify is planning to make its shares public via a direct listing, versus the more conventional initial public offering. Instead of hiring investment bankers to hype the offering and set the price, the stock simply becomes available on the public market — with the price set by demand. Further, employees will be able to sell their shares without Spotify having to pay underwriters.
Bloomberg reports that Spotify wants to begin listing its shares in the first quarter of this year.
The Swedish company’s valuation in private trades was reported to be around $16 billion as of September, an increase of $3 billion since May. At last count in the fall of 2017, the service had 140 million regular users, with 60 million paying for it, numbers that are sure to be larger by now.
In preparation for its listing, Spotify spent the last year securing direct licensing deals with all three major labels, Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group, along with independent label org Merlin.