WordPress IPO?

February 25, 2020
Posted in Blog, Featured
2 mins

Ok, not WordPress but Automattic, and yes there is always that great conflation of the two but the question mark still applies. I’m quite surprised that this tweet from John James Jacoby (no relation “Y” vs “I”) did not get significantly more comments and traction.

Automattic will IPO on the LTSE this year. Discuss.

@JJJ

It was a very declarative statement and in fact corrected by Matt Mullenweg relatively quickly.

Not this year.

@photomatt

If you’ve gotten this far you probably have a couple of questions, probably first what is LTSE? Long Term Stock Exchange is a new SEC approved exchange, there are a tons of details on what this means and there is no better article on the subject than the one published on Marker. LTSE seeks to solve the issues of short term thinking with built in regulation and does have some hot button issues like super voting shares. The other problem is that LTSE is not yet a running exchange, which could be why Matt says not this year, but also because putting together an IPO is a complex and time consuming affair. Given that the Salesforce investment just happened I think there is a lot to sort out and plan. Though I certainly believe an IPO is in the works over the next 12-18 months.

The other big question is why IPO? Investors are always looking for liquidity events and an IPO is generally the best bang for the buck but it also provides cash for expansion and growth. Automattic will certainly be looking for additional acquisitions to bolster and complete solution as well as play in markets and technologies. Of course the other reason is that the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, WP Engine, is also likely to go public in the next 12-18 months. There is certainly a first mover advantage to the initial IPO to take as much oxygen and funding as possible. This is a fascinating and exciting time in the WordPress investment space.

The final question, for Twitter discussion, how would an Automattic IPO change (if at all) the nature of WordPress?

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