Pinterest sets IPO to raise up to $1.5 billion

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Pinterest said on Monday it would raise up to $1.5 billion in its stock offering, setting a price range that trims the value of the online visual discovery startup.

San Francisco-based Pinterest’s price range of $15 to $17 a share would give it an estimated valuation of some $11 billion, below the $12 billion in its most recent private funding round.

The pricing suggests caution about the big venture-backed “unicorns,” or startups worth more than $1 billion, after a mixed response to the Wall Street debut of ride-hailing firm Lyft.

Pinterest, a virtual bulletin board that connects people with interests including food, fashion, travel, and lifestyle, plans to trade under the symbol PINS on the New York Stock Exchange.

Pinterest has some 250 million worldwide users but its path to profitability remains uncertain.

Pinterest lost $63 million in 2018 on revenue of $755.9 million. That compared with a loss of $130.0 million on $473 million in 2017 revenue, according to the filing with Securities and Exchange Commission.

Launched in 2010, Pinterest brings in money from its role in online shopping and from advertising.

Pinterest attracts users who create virtual bulletin boards with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, fashion or travel.

The research firm eMarketer expects Pinterest’s global ad revenues to hit $1 billion this year, making up just 0.3 percent of the total digital ad spend.

In addition to making money from ads, Pinterest seeks to become a force in e-commerce by enabling users to click on images to purchase items they see.

Like several other startups, Pinterest will use a dual-class share structure that enables the founders, including chief executive Ben Silbermann, to retain control.

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