Square, Match Group Soar in Market Debut Despite Dismal Initial Pricing

Square, Match Group Soar in Market Debut Despite Dismal Initial Pricing
Image credit: JD Lasica | Flickr

In a relatively hopeful sign for other unicorns in this chilly IPO climate, both Square and the Match Group posted stellar debuts on their first day of trading despite initially pricing shares at the lower end of their respective ranges yesterday evening.

Square shares touched a high of $14.78 today and closed at $13.07 -- a 45 percent increase over its $9 IPO price. That values the payments company, one of the biggest to go public in recent months, at $4.2 billion -- still below its highest private valuation of $6 billion last October.

Riding this wave, perhaps, Match shares hit a high of $14.89 and closed at $14.74 -- a 23 percent increase over its initial pricing of $12. This values the parent company of dating services Tinder, OkCupid and Match.com at $3.5 billion.

Six-year-old Square has been a game-changer for small-business owners the world over in developing software and hardware that allows users to conduct credit card transactions with mobile devices. The company has since expanded with other offers, including a loan program and payroll product -- though it is still unprofitable.

Related: It's Time for Sean Rad to Leave Tinder. For Good.

Recently, concerns have swirled around co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey, who was reinstated as CEO of Twitter, which he also co-founded. In addition to questioning the time crunch of running two massive public companies concurrently, analysts and investors have also expressed concern about a conflict of interest given that ecommerce will likely be crucial to the future of both companies.

Controversy surrounding leadership has plagued the Match Group in recent days as well. On the eve of its IPO, the London Evening Standard published a profile of Tinder CEO Sean Rad in which he ruminated about sodomy and made veiled threats at reporters who have covered the company unfavorably. The comments were so incendiary that the Match Group made a last-minute SEC filing to note that “Rad is not a director or executive officer of the Company and was not authorized to make statements on behalf of the Company for purposes of the article.”

Unlike Square, however, Match is already profitable.

Despite both companies’ soaring debuts, the fact that initial pricing plummeted so low may be a warning sign for fellow unicorns eyeing an IPO. Other recent offerings in the tech space have faltered after their debuts, including, perhaps most notably, Box and Etsy.

Related: 10 Companies That Are Probably Going Public in the Next Year

Edition: October 2016

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