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Sonos IPO prices below target range at $15 a share

The speaker company, a pioneer in multiroom audio, officially became a public company, trading on the Nasdaq.

Sonos CEO Patrick Spence with Sonos employees ringing the bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

For many years whenever I met with Sonos executives they always expressed their desire to remain a private company. Well, today  the multiroom audio speaker company officially went public, ringing the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York this morning.

The Santa Barbara, California-based company announced it sold around 5.6 million shares at $15 per share in the IPO while existing Sonos shareholders, including investment firm KKR & Co, sold an additional 8.3 million shares. Sonos had targeted a price range of $17-$19 but couldn't get there.

In selling the 13.9 million shares at $15 a share, the company is raising around $208 million and will be valued at around $1.5 million. Its stock is trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol "SONO". It was up 3.5 points to $18.50 a share in midday trading.

Founded in 2002, Sonos initially didn't face much competition in the multiroom audio space. But as tech behemoths Amazon, Google and Apple have all entered the growing connected home audio market, Sonos found itself needing additional capital to do battle. While it's raised a chunk of money in the IPO, it will now face the scrutiny of being a public company and being transparent about its earnings.

The company is currently profitable, with $13 million of net income in the first of half of its 2018 fiscal year. But recently it cut 6 percent of its employees (96 people) in a bid to boost its profitability ahead of its IPO, according to Bloomberg.

We'll be speaking with Sonos CEO Patrick Spence later this afternoon to get his take on the IPO and how the company plans to compete going forward.

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