Led by underwriters Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the maker of high-end smart audio products, will start trading tomorrow on the Nasdaq, using the ticker symbol SONO. Even at the lowered price, the offering should still net more than $200 million at a valuation of almost $1.5 billion.
Voice technology is propelling the interest in Sonos. The company has had a well-regarded line of speaker systems in the marketplace for years but recently forged a partnership with Amazon to make co-branded Alexa speakers.
Santa Barbara-based Sonos has embraced the app ecosystem and offers streaming via services like Apple Music, Spotify and SoundCloud. About 70 million hours of content per month pass through its systems, including the burgeoning area of podcasts and digital radio. The question for investors will be whether they can embrace a company that specializes in consumer electronics, a brutal market segment that has shredded companies far mightier than Sonos.
Once-high-flying gear makers like Fitbit and GoPro are down sharply from their IPO prices of a few years ago. Another company, by contrast, whose stock has taken off is Roku. Its brighter fortunes have resulted from a strategic shift by the onetime device maker to focus on non-product revenue streams such as advertising and licensing. Those areas are now bringing in more proceeds than device sales.