Digital scrapbooking site Pinterest files for IPO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pinterest is pinning its future on Wall Street, with the digital scrapbooking site on Friday filing for an initial public offering of stock.

It follows a similar filing with securities regulators earlier this month by ride-hailing company Lyft in what is shaping up to be a busy season for technology IPOs. Also expected to sell stock to the public in the coming weeks: Lyft rival Uber and messaging app Slack.

Pinterest said in its filing that it intends to list itself on the New York Stock Exchange using the ticker symbol “PINS.” The company hasn’t yet said how many shares it’s selling in the IPO or how much money it intends to raise.

The San Francisco-based company had revenue of $756 million last year, a 60 percent bump from 2017. It had a loss of $63 million last year, compared to a loss of $130 million in 2017.

Pinterest allows people to search for and “pin” images as inspiration for fashion, interior design, travel and more.

The company said it has more than 250 million users each month, and users have saved more than 175 billion pins since the site was launched.

Pinterest has raised nearly $1.5 billion in the private markets, and was last valued at $12.3 billion in 2017, according to PitchBook Data.

Pinterest has long shunned being labeled a social network. Because of that, it doesn’t push users to add friends or build connections. It also means it’s been able to avoid problems of its larger rivals like Facebook.

But despite the lack of friend networks, many advertisers likely still consider Pinterest to be part of their “social” budgets, said eMarketer analyst Andrew Lipsman, meaning it competes in part with Facebook, Snapchat and others.

Pinterest makes advertising revenue when businesses promote pins in users’ feeds. Pinterest has the potential to be more valuable than most digital media to advertisers, Lipsman said, because it has direct information about what a user wants.

It’s all clear in the search — if a user is searching for new floor lamps or diamond rings, there’s a decent chance they want to buy those things.

“Visual search has a much bigger impact in terms of driving desire,” Lipsman said.

Pinterest was founded in 2010 by Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp, who still serve as CEO and chief product officer, respectively.

The company has been working on developing its artificial intelligence search, which allows people to take a photo or upload a screenshot of an item and find similar products on Pinterest.

Like many other tech companies, including Facebook and Google, Pinterest will create two classes of stock — one that will give the holder one vote per share, and another that will get 20 votes per share. Shares held by executives and board members will be converted into shares of the second, more powerful, class. Pinterest’s filing did not break down the percentage of ownership.

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