Roblox share price set at $45 ahead NYSE debut

The New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday set a reference price of $45 for shares of U.S. gaming platform Roblox Corp on the eve of its public market debut, implying a market value for the company of around $30 billion.

San Mateo, California-based Roblox is among the world’s most popular gaming sites for children and offers a host of games across mobile devices and gaming consoles.

The reference price is not an offering price to purchase shares but rather will be a performance benchmark for when Roblox’s stock starts trading on the stock exchange on Wednesday.

The opening public price will be determined by buy and sell orders collected by the NYSE from broker-dealers.

Roblox has opted to go public through a direct listing rather than a traditional initial public offering (IPO). This means the company is not selling any shares in advance of its market debut, as is the case with IPOs.

Direct listings are still relatively rare, though they are becoming increasingly popular way to go public amid criticism that investment banks underwriting IPOs underprice shares being sold to help create a first-day trading “pop” for the benefit of their big trading clients.

Pageone reported last week that U.S. grocery delivery app Instacart is considering going public through a direct listing, concerned that it could leave money on the table through an IPO.

Roblox said in January it had raised around $520 million in a new Series H private fundraising round in a deal which valued it at $29.5 billion, more than seven times the $4 billion the company was valued at in its Series G round 11 months earlier.

U.S. demand for video games has surged as consumers seek home entertainment while living under lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.