In March 2017, Snap Inc. completed its IPO, selling only non-voting Class A common shares to the investing public and beginning an ongoing discussion of the viability and morality of multiple classes of stock in the public company setting. No other company has gone public with non-voting stock on a U.S. exchange. Although Facebook and Alphabet have dual-class stock structures, shareholders still have voting rights, even though insiders hold substantial control with super-voting preferred stock.
Snap’s stock price was $10.79 on May 7, 2018, well below is IPO opening price of $17.00. Certainly the decline has a lot to do with the company’s floundering app, Snapchat, which famously lost $1.3 billion in value when reality star Kylie Jenner tweeted that she no longer used the app, but the negativity associated with the share structure has made it difficult to attract institutional investors, especially those with a history of activism. Although there was a net increase of $8.8 million in
I recently blogged about how to determine valuation in a start-up or development stage entity for purposes of structuring a prepackaged private placement, or for negotiating the venture capital transaction. Determining a valuation is instrumental to answering the overriding questions of what percentage of a company is being sold and at what price. However, once you determine the value, you must determine what financial instrument is being sold, or put another way, what will be the form of the investment.
The world of financial instruments can appear daunting and complicated, and no entity should attempt to structure a private offering or enter into an investment agreement without the advice of competent counsel. However, an understanding of the basic components of financial instruments will increase the efficiency of counsel and greatly add to the comfort level of all parties involved. This blog is limited to a discussion of the basic components of financial instruments that would be used to finance