(Reuters) - Fox-backed video streaming firm Roku Inc <ROKU.O> raised about $219 million in an initial public offering that was priced at the higher end of its expected price range, the company said.
The offering of 15.7 million shares follows disappointing launches of Snap Inc <SNAP.N> and Blue Apron Holdings Inc <APRN.N> earlier this year, and was priced at $14, valuing Roku at $1.32 billion ahead of its debut later on Thursday. (http://bit.ly/2xz1hH8)
A pioneer in helping consumers cut the cord from traditional cable, Roku made one of the first devices to offer streaming content such as Netflix over TVs.
But the market has since become more competitive, with Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, Alphabet Inc's Google <GOOGL.O>, Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> and others offering their own devices.
To compete better, the California-based firm has opened its platform to more TV apps than its peers, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Google Play, allowing it to offer over 3,000 channels internationally.
The company licenses its software to companies such as Sharp and Hitachi and gets a cut of the advertising revenue from media companies with apps on its platform.
In six months ended June 30, Roku had around 15.1 million active accounts, with around 6.74 billion hours of content streamed, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Those numbers however haven't translated into profitability as the company pumps in cash into marketing and R&D.
In the quarter ended June 30, the company posted a net loss of $15.5 million, bigger than $14.1 million loss in the year-ago quarter.
"I don't like that they are losing cash but, if you wait for a cash flow positive tech company, you may have to wait for a full solar eclipse to come around again," Brian Hamilton, chairman and founder of data firm Sageworks said.
Roku's principal stockholders include Menlo Ventures, Fidelity and Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox <FOXA.O> It sold 9 million Class A common shares in the offering, with shareholders selling an additional 6.7 million shares. (http://bit.ly/2hfyLzZ)
(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)