Pinterest confidentially filed paperwork with the SEC for an initial public offering, according to The Wall Street Journal, with tentative plans for a listing in late June. That offering will be worth watching, as Pinterest is hoping to go public at a valuation of at least $12 billion, which is where it last raised money. But as we reported last month, mutual fund shareholders marked down their stakes in the company late last year by as much as 38%, to a level that would imply a valuation of $7 billion to $8 billion. Precedent suggests mutual fund valuations are a better indicator of public market valuations than private fundraisings.
Complicating this offering is that Pinterest is seen by some as a social media firm, now distinctly out of favor, although its advertising revenue is growing faster than social media peers. And Pinterest may have a better story to sell about its value as an ad platform to retailers, given that many users are on the site looking for something to buy. In a year likely to be crowded with IPOs, Pinterest may well turn out to be one of the most interesting.