Squarespace plunges on debut as IPO market hits choppy waters

Squarespace valuation plunged by more than a third in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, after shares of the website-hosting service fell 13 percent below their reference price amid a broader market sell-off.

Shares of the New York-based company opened at $48 apiece on a day when Wall Street’s main indexes were down on inflation jitters. The NYSE had set a reference price of $50 each.

Its latest share price of $43.70 gave Squarespace a market capitalization of less than $6 billion – a steep drop from its valuation of $10 billion after a funding round in March.

The NYSE reference price was already at a 27 percent discount to the private deal that Squarespace completed in March at $68.42 a share.

Rival Wix had a market capitalization of $12.8 billion as of Tuesday, while GoDaddy was worth $13.7 billion, as of last close.

Squarespace’s valuation of less than $6 billion on its market debut was about half that of web-hosting rivals like GoDaddy.
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The latest stock market float comes days after choppy market conditions forced at least three companies, including mortgage insurer Enact Holdings and hearing care services company Hear.com, to pull their stock market flotations.

Squarespace’s lackluster opening follows a record 15-month run in the US IPO market, as investors rushed to buy stocks of high-growth tech companies, such as fintech firm Affirm Holdings and South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang.

So far in 2021, well over $150 billion has been raised through US IPOs, according to data from Dealogic, putting it on track to comfortably eclipse last year’s tally of $167 billion.

However, fears of inflation have forced investors to abandon high-growth technology stocks, leading to a cool-off in US capital markets.

Squarespace, which had confidentially filed for a stock market listing in January this year, went public through a direct listing in which no shares are sold in advance and the debut price is determined by orders coming into the stock exchange.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are the financial advisers for the listing.