Telegram messenger aims for $50bn IPO in 2 years

Telegram messenger aims for $50bn IPO in 2 years
By bne IntelliNews April 12, 2021

Telegram messenger of Russian internet guru Pavel Durov aims to hold an initial public offering (IPO) in the next two years with a valuation of $50bn, Vedomosti daily reports citing unnamed sources close to the Dubai-headquartered company.

The Bell cited unnamed sources as saying that an IPO is most likely in 2023 on an Asian stock exchange, given that 40% of the messenger's users are in Asia. 

As reported by bne IntelliNews, Telegram has closed the book for $1bn of exchange bonds yielding 7% annually. Reportedly, the latest bonds mature in 2026, with the minimum offering at $0.5mn. The bonds are exchangeable for equity in the case of a possible IPO at 10% discount.

Reportedly, the IPO would not exceed 25%, with the minimum free float of 10%. The valuation is based on $50 per active user, estimating that the messenger's active users will expand from 500mn people currently to 0.8bn-1bn people.

The Bell compiled the valuations of Telegram by a number of investment banks, which range from $50bn-$150bn. The valuation of at least $50bn is seen is justified, should the messenger present a clear business model and monetisation plan.

bne IntelliNews covered in detail how Telegram turned to debt financing to support its development after Durov halted his TON blockchain project in 2020, following a prolonged struggle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). TON was ordered to pay back $1.22bn worth of investment in its Gram tokens.

In 2020 the messenger made a surprise comeback on the Russian business scene, as the messenger app has been unblocked in Russia after a two-year stand-off with the security services and legislators. Notably, the state sovereign Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) bought part of $150mn of the bonds most recently issued by the messenger

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