The last few weeks may have been a roller coaster ride for the stock market, but 2019 is still shaping up to be a potentially big year for massive tech IPOs.
Carrying on the momentum from 2018 that featured IPOs of billion-dollar tech companies such as Spotify, Dropbox, and DocuSign, 2019 is expected to see another impressive crop of newly public stocks. According to CNBC, 2019 could see valuations reaching as high as $100 billion, generating plenty of work for the firms that bring the companies to market.
Here’s the list of the 10 most highly-anticipated tech IPOs that investors have their eye on next year. While it’s no guarantee which firms will benefit from these big-name offerings, we also look at a few of the law firms that have handled work for these companies in the past.
Uber said it has confidentially filed for an IPO soon after smaller rival Lyft publicly announced its plan to list. Uber’s new leadership has been busy reshaping the company’s image after a series of scandals last year, including conflicts with cities and rivals, and has been embroiled in lawsuits over its alleged theft of data from peers like Waymo and claims of a culture of sexual harassment at the ride-hailing company. Uber has selected Morgan Stanley to lead its public offering next year, Bloomberg reported. At a recent private valuation of $120 billion, Uber’s IPO would be the largest in a string of Silicon Valley unicorns expected to debut in the stock market in 2019.
San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster has represented Uber throughout its widely-reported trade secrets matter against Waymo, Google’s driverless car division. The firm has also served as sole counsel to SoftBank in its primary and secondary investment in Uber.
The second-largest ride-hailing service is in a race with Uber to IPO first. Lyft has publicly announced its plans to launch an IPO in the first half of 2019 and beat Uber in filing for confidential paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company has reportedly selected underwriters for the upcoming IPO, JPMorgan Chase & Co. leads the offering, along with Credit Suisse Group AG and Jefferies Group. Lyft was valued at $15 billion in its last funding round in June. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati represented Lyft in the transaction.
The elusive data-mining company backed by Peter Thiel is the latest tech giant to consider an IPO for late 2019. According to an October Wall Street Journal report, the company has held talks with Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley to go public as soon as the second half of 2019, which could value the firm as high as $41 billion. Palantir’s last funding round in 2015 left it with a reported $20 billion valuation. Palantir’ general counsel (or “legal ninja”) Matt Long was formerly an associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan before moving to the in-house role in 2009.
The social media app mostly flew under the radar as an IPO candidate until this year when it reportedly doubled its ad revenue. According to CNBC, Pinterest’s ad revenue for this year was projected to hit $1 billion in July, nearly twice the previous year’s number. Pinterest is expected to hire underwriters as soon as January, The Wall Street Journal reported. The most recent financing round in mid-2017 valued the company at $12.3 billion. Pinterest hired Christine Flores, a former Google executive, as its general counsel last March.
Rackspace is a managed cloud computing company that was once public until 2016 when the private equity firm Apollo Global Management took the firm private in a deal worth $4.3 billion. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison was the legal adviser to Apollo, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has advised Rackspace in the transaction. The private equity firm may be considering a fresh IPO of Rackspace according to a May Bloomberg report, which quoted a valuation of $10 billion and a potential target date of sometime in 2019.
Slack, the popular office-messaging platform, has been eyeing an IPO since 2017. The company is said to be planning an early 2019 IPO. In August, Slack raised $427 million in a private round of financing led by General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group, giving it a valuation of more than $7.1 billion. Paul Weiss has advised General Atlantic as a lead investor alongside Dragoneer in the $427 million funding for Slack. According to Reuters, Slack has hired Goldman Sachs to lead its public offering next year and is seeking a valuation of $10 billion.
Airbnb hasn’t yet declared that it is going public, though CEO Brian Chesky said in May that the company would be ready to go public in 2019. The home-sharing company has recently hired a chief financial officer, filling a need before a public offering. Recode reported earlier this month that Airbnb was considering a direct listing, and has consulted with Spotify on the process. Airbnb was last valued at $31 billion after a 2017 funding round.
Robinhood’s CEO Baiju Bhatt has confirmed the company’s IPO plans. In November, the Menlo Park-based zero-fee stock trading unicorn hired former Amazon.com Inc. executive Jason Warnick as the chief financial officer as it gets its leadership team set up for an expected IPO. Its latest round of financing in May valued the company at $5.6 billion.
Cloudflare, which sells performance and security services for websites, could go public in 2019. According to Reuters, Cloudflare is seeking an IPO in the first half of 2019 that could value it at $3.5 billion and be led by Goldman Sachs. After last raising capital in 2015, Cloudflare was valued at $1.8 billion.
After raising a $300 million round of venture capital financing last summer, Postmates’ CEO said the company is on track to deliver a 2019 IPO. The delivery startup has recently hired JPMorgan for a regular IPO next year, Recode reported. Postmates has raised $578 million, according to CrunchBase, and was most recently valued at $1.2 billion.