U.S. gaming platform Roblox to delay IPO until next year

FILE PHOTO: Alice Wilkinson (7) adds a face mask to her character on the game 'Roblox' at her home in Manchester, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Manchester, Britain, April 5, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. gaming platform Roblox Corp has put off its planned initial public offering (IPO) until next year as it works with advisers to improve the process to benefit employees and investors, the company told employees in a memo seen by Reuters.

“We’ve seen companies take innovative approaches to creating a more market-based relationship between investors and companies,” Roblox Chief Executive David Baszucki said in the memo, dated Friday.

“We’ve decided to take this opportunity to work with our advisers to see how we can make such improvements.”

Baszucki said the company expects to list early next year. The San Mateo, California-based firm had filed to raise $1 billion through an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange and was expected to join a year-end IPO wave.

A person familiar with the company said it hoped to get a higher IPO pricing after seeing Airbnb Inc and DoorDash Inc spike on their first day trading this week, which it sees as examples of companies underpricing IPO shares and leaving money on the table.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Affirm Holdings Inc is also postponing its IPO.

The lending startup, which had been set to begin marketing its shares to investors this coming week for a December listing, will not go public until January at the earliest, the Journal reported, citing sources. Affirm declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

DoorDash raised $3.4 billion and its stock rose as much as 92% on the first day of trading, while Airbnb jumped as much as 142% in its $3.5 billion IPO.

Earlier this year, Roblox had floated the idea of a direct listing - in which existing investors sell their shares and investment banks play less of a role - but in the end chose the IPO route, sources said.

Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in New York; additional reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, William Mallard and Dan Grebler