March 20, 2018 / 8:19 PM / a month ago

Spotify CEO eligible to sell up to $2 billion stake in public listing

(Reuters) - Daniel Ek, the CEO and co-founder of streaming music leader Spotify Technology SA (SPOT.N), is eligible to sell up to 15.8 million shares of the company worth up to $2 billion in its direct listing, the company disclosed in a filing on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO - Spotify CEO Daniel Ek speaks during a media event in New York, U.S., May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

In an amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Spotify said it expected current shareholders to sell up to 55.7 million ordinary shares when the stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on April 3. (bit.ly/2u77nhu)

Instead of a traditional IPO, Spotify plans a direct listing, which will let investors and employees sell shares without the company raising new capital or hiring a Wall Street bank or broker to underwrite the offering.

Spotify is valued at roughly $19 billion on the private markets but has not set an opening share price for its direct listing. The company has hired Morgan Stanley & Co (MS.N) to help evaluate buy and sell orders on the NYSE to help set an opening price.

    But the company, which was founded in Sweden, disclosed for the first time how many shares Ek, its 35-year-old chief executive, would be able to sell. The stake is worth between $775 million to $2 billion at the most recent private market prices, which ranged from $48.93 to $131.88 for the month of March, according to Spotify’s updated filing.

    The move allows Ek to sell the shares but does not obligate him to do so, and Ek has given no public indication he plans to sell them. Ek will retain 37 percent voting power in Spotify regardless of how many of the newly registered shares he sells. Ek and fellow Spotify co-founder Martin Lorentzon together control more than 80 percent of the voting power in the company.

    Spotify also disclosed for the first time that it would pay Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) cloud computing unit, Google Cloud Platform, at least 365 million euros, or about $447 million, over the course of three years to host Spotify’s streaming services.

    (1 Euro = $1.22 U.S. Dollar)

    Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney

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