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RAIN 6/15: Pandora shares leap to over $20 in market debut

Posted on: 06/15/2011

COMPANY VALUATION REACHED $4.2 BILLION IN ITS FIRST HOUR AS A PUBLIC COMPANY

Pandora’s shares soared in its market debut Wednesday morning, opening at $20 per share (from its IPO price to institutional investors Tuesday night of $16) rising to $26 — equivalent to a valuation of $4.2 billion (121% higher than its propsoed $1.9 billion valuation last week here).

(Pictured at right: Pandora founder Tim Westergren, in brown jacket, and CEO Joe Kennedy, center, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange this morning. Each owns Pandora shares worth over $75 million at the moment.)

The $26 high point (so far) “is nearly twice” the current value of AOL Inc.,” writes the Washington Post (here), “but a fraction of such Internet behemoths as Google Inc. or even Yahoo Inc.”

At this moment of publication, Pandora’s share price stands at just under $19. Pandora’s original suggested share price was $7-9. You can follow Pandora’s stock progress through Google here.

You can read more coverage of Tuesday night’s Pandora IPO price-setting of $16 here.

RAIN ANALYSIS: If the price this morning settles in at $20, that suggests that the underwriters priced the stock almost perfectly last night — high enough that Pandora got a lot more money for its shares than it previously expected, but low enough to still see a first-day-of-trading pop (which is a good PR move).

Incidentally, at a $20 stock price, Pandora’s enterprise value would be $3.6 billion, making it roughly tied with CBS Radio for the position of America’s third-most-valuable radio broadcast group (behind Sirius XM and Clear Channel Radio, but exceeding the enterprise values of the radio divisions of Entercom, Cox, Univision, and Radio One combined). — KH


(Pictured: Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy, at left, and founder Tim Westergren, at right, ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.)

WESTERGREN: MOBILE ADVERTISING UNDERGOINGDRAMATIC REVOLUTION

“There’s a transition happening,” Pandora founder Tim Westergren told RAIN’s Kurt Hanson in an exclusive interview Wednesday morning.

In fact, there’s a few transitions going on at the moment. The most obvious is Pandora’s transition to a public company, with shares going for over $20 at the time of publication.

But the transition Westergren is referring to is the evolution of Internet radio into a mobile experience. Indeed, “the tipping point was when Pandora became mobile,” he said.

“That took our industry from a pretty small sandbox into the whole sandbox…since then, the story around personalized radio has changed dramatically.”

Some critics have argued Pandora isn’t monetizing mobile listeners as well as desktop listeners. But Westergren (pictured) is optimistic.

“We’re confident about mobile. It’s a nascent category that’s growing in leaps and bounds.” Mobile users are “as engaged as they are on the web,” he said.

Indeed, mobile advertising is already “at a completely different level now than it has been before. People who have traditionally bought radio understand what we are doing…that’s a dramatic revolution.”

So what’s next for Pandora after its push to go public? Expanding the service’s reach, says Westergren. Putting Pandora in more consumer devices, “nurturing the smartphone category” and “constantly developing.”

NEWS CORP’S iPAD PUB THE DAILY COVERS PANDORA IPO

The Pandora IPO is “off with a bang,” writes New Corp’s new experiment iPad-only publication The Daily.

“It’s unbelievable,” RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson told The Daily. “I personally thought the price wasn’t going to pop until Wednesday.”

Hanson continued, “The gamble on Pandora is a gamble on an established long-term trend of lsiteners switching from terrestrial radio to online radio…it was successful before in the transition from FM to AM, and it’ll be successful again.”

You can find out more about the iPad publication here.

NEW BMW M5 BRINGS WEB RADIO ALONG FOR THE RIDE

BMW has released specs and pics for their 2012 M5 which will include support for Internet radio via connected smartphones.

BMW offers its own web radio aggregator app (more coverage here) along with support for Pandora’s mobile apps. You can find out more about the new M5 here.



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