GoPro prices shares at $24 ahead of Thursday's IPO

Maker of portable video cameras popular with thrill-seekers should be worth $3 billion after pricing its shares at the high end of its expected price range.

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GoPro's Hero3 camera. Joshua Goldman/CNET

GoPro, the maker of portable video cameras popular with thrill-seekers, priced its initial public offering at $24 a share Wednesday, at the high end of the expected price range of $21 to $24.

At that price, the 10-year-old company should have a valuation of $3 billion when it begins trading Thursday on the Nasdaq stock market under the stock ticker symbol "GPRO." The San Mateo, Calif.-based company makes rugged high-definition video cameras that show the exploits of skiers, bikers, surfers, and even toddlers and dogs.

According to its IPO documents, GoPro has shown sequential revenue growth for the past full three years. In 2013, GoPro generated revenue of $985.7 million, which is up from $526 million in 2012 and $234.2 million in 2011.

However, for the first quarter of 2014, GoPro recorded $235.7 million in sales, an 8 percent decline compared with the same period the previous year. GoPro attributed that decline to production issues. The company also warned of a likely slowed growth rate in the future, high reliance on its CEO, and being involved in a "highly competitive market."

For decades, Japanese companies like Canon, Olympus, Pentax, and Nikon have dominated the camera market, with only modest adjustments as consumer electronics companies like Samsung and Sony arrived. But GoPro, something of an underdog, has found a strong niche in the market even as smartphones have steadily replaced cameras in many people's lives.

The GoPro cameras are compact, no-fuss devices that dispense with manual controls and other distractions. Instead, their primary virtue is that they fit in housings that can endure all manner of abuse and that can be clamped onto helmets, handlebars, surfboards, and more. That lets the extreme-sports athletes, real or aspiring, record and share their exploits.

 

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