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Roblox surges 43% in debut on NYSE

NEW YORK: Shares of US gaming company Roblox Corp jumped 43per cent in its New York Stock Exchange trading debut on Wednesday, valuing the company at around US$42 billion.

San Mateo, California-based Roblox is among the world's most popular gaming sites for children and offers a host of games across mobile devices and gaming consoles.

The company's stock opened at US$64.5, up from the reference price of US$45 per share which was set on Tuesday and is based on where its stock had been trading in less liquid private markets.

"This is a milestone along a journey that started over 15 years ago," Roblox Chief Executive Officer David Baszucki said in an interview before the stock started trading.

"Going public can bring awareness to our company, we can safely show our financials, we can show the value of what we're doing," Baszucki said.

At US$64.5 per share, Roblox would have a fully diluted valuation, which includes unvested stock options and restricted stocks, of US$41.93 billion and a market capitalization of US$35.5 billion.

Roblox said in January it had raised around US$520 million in a new Series H private fundraising round in a deal with a fully diluted valuation of US$29.5 billion, more than seven times the US$4 billion valuation in its Series G round 11 months earlier.

Roblox is going public through a direct listing rather than a traditional initial public offering. This means the company is not selling any shares in advance of its market debut, as is the case with IPOs.

Roblox has benefited from U.S. demand for video games surging last year as consumers, amid lockdowns to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, sought home entertainment.

"We want COVID to end as quickly as possible. At the same time, what we've seen in the midst of COVID is Roblox has been used to bring people together," Baszucki said.

The company is expanding into other countries and is also making inroads with older users, passing the phase where more people over the age of 13 will be on the platform than under 13, Baszucki said.

Source: Reuters

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