Roku just priced its IPO at the top of its range, fetching a $1.3 billion market cap before trading on Thursday

Roku priced its initial public offering at $US14 a share, giving the maker of
streaming video players a valuation of $US1.3 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The company is set to make its debut on the Nasdaq exchange on Thursday under the symbol “ROKU.”

The IPO price is at the high end of the $US12 to $US14 a share range that Roku set earlier this month in its prospectus. Roku plans to sell 15.8 million shares from both Roku and some of its private shareholders.

Roku is best know for selling inexpensive boxes that allow consumers to stream Netflix, YouTube and other streaming video services to their televisions. The company also offers its software to other consumers electronics makers that want to use it as the interface for their smart TVs.

Roku’s revenue is growing fast as cord-cutters and other consumers snap up its devices, the cheapest model of which sells for $US30.

Despite its high valuation, Roku is still in the red. The company lost $US24.2 million in the first half of 2017. And while the company is trying to move away from the fiercely competitive, low-margin hardware business so that it can grow its advertising business, there are significant challenges facing the company in both markets.

Investors will also need to be comfortable with Roku’s dual-class stock structure, which will give its CEO and other insiders control of 98% of the voting power, even after the IPO.

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