Asana direct listing price set at $21

(Bloomberg) — Palantir Technologies Inc. isn’t the only Peter Thiel-backed company going public this week. Workplace management software firm Asana Inc. is also set to debut through a direct listing, an alternative route to going public last tested in 2019.

The New York Stock Exchange set a reference price of $21 a share for Asana on Tuesday. Asana, whose founders include Facebook Inc. co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, will begin trading on Wednesday.

Asana has registered 30 million shares that could trade on the first day. On a fully diluted basis and based on the reference price, Asana would have a valuation of about $4 billion. The reference price doesn’t dictate where the shares will start trading or what Asana’s actual valuation will be once it’s publicly traded.

The company isn’t issuing new shares or raising capital as it would in a traditional initial public offering. And unlike the offer price in an IPO, the reference price isn’t determined by share sales in the listing. Instead, it’s based on earlier secondary trading and acts as a guide to investors.

Shares of the workplace collaboration software maker have traded privately from $13.04 to $28 each from February to August, according to a note from MKM Partners.

Asana was valued at $1.5 billion in a 2018 funding round led by Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management. More recently, it has fetched a valuation of about $5 billion on the secondary market.

Benchmark Capital and Thiel’s Founders Fund are among Asana’s backers.

Palantir, which Thiel co-founded, is also slated to go public on Wednesday through a direct listing. Only two major companies have previously completed direct listings: Spotify Technology SA in 2018 and Slack Technologies Inc. last year. The NYSE, a subsidiary of InterContinentalExchange Inc., was the venue for both.

A beneficiary of the work-from-home shift accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, Asana reported 57% year-over-year revenue growth for the three months ended July 31. Its net loss during the period jumped to $41.1 million, compared with a $15.6 million loss for the same period last year. The company has yet to turn a profit.

Direct Listings to Take Center Stage as Palantir, Asana Debut

Apart from Thiel, it’ll also be a hectic day for Morgan Stanley, which is acting as the lead adviser on both Palantir’s and Asana’s listings. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. are also financial advisers to Asana. The shares will trade under the symbol ASAN.

(Updates with fully diluted valuation calculation in third paragraph)