Pinterest may be one of last social networks to IPO game, but time is on its side
Global Times

Pinterest is taking a mature approach to stock-market listings. The scrapbooking site is one of the last social networks to tap the public markets and may do so through an initial public offering in mid-2019, CNBC reported. It's probably worth $13 billion, a tad more than after fundraising last year.


The brand logo for Pinterest hangs outside of the NYSE after the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City on July 23, 2018. Pinterest nears $1 billion in ad sales as it looks to go public in mid-2019. (Photos: VCG)

The market isn't as hot as it was, but Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's $250 million investment in Snap  suggests investors are still interested in social media. More time could make for a better debut for Pinterest.

Unlike banter-based social media, Pinterest's clicks come primarily from new moms looking for less controversial interaction. Users are overwhelmingly women aged 25 to 54, and more than 60 percent have children under age five. Almost three-quarters of them use the platform to find ideas that help with everyday life, like closet organization and wardrobe planning.

Pinterest may not have the excitement of Twitter and Facebook, or the youthful magnetism of Snap. But it is actually useful, which appeals to advertisers. Users are in the mood to shop, and the site pushes them to do so. It's easy for advertisers to slip in wares that fit a specific search.

This year Pinterest's revenue should approach $1 billion, according to CNBC, roughly twice what the company made last year. But valuations have steadied since Pinterest raised $150 million last year, which left the company worth just over $12 billion. Snap's enterprise value has since fallen to 14 times this year's estimated revenue, a drop of more than 40 percent. Facebook's recent tumble leaves it at around 9.5 times revenue. Pinterest is worth only slightly more than its valuation last year.

Pinterest's users have increased almost 15 percent over the past year. That's faster than other mature platforms like Twitter, whose monthly active users grew around 3 percent in late July. But it doesn't have quite the same manipulative magic as Facebook when it comes to generating revenue. Its average monthly user brings in roughly $5, where Facebook brings in about $25, albeit with mounting concerns about user data. The main task should be for Pinterest to increase that metric. Time is on its side.

The author is Lauren Silva Laughlin, a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The article was first published on Reuters Breakingviews.