Reddit Prices IPO At $34 Per Share. R/wallstreetbets Predicts It Will Tank.

The infamous stock trading subreddit has little faith in Reddit’s stock market debut.

Credit: Pavlo Gonchar / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Reddit has priced its initial public offering (IPO) at $34 per share, reaching the top of its initially expected price range and hitting its target valuation of $6.4 billion. According to the Redditors at r/wallstreetbets, the company should enjoy it while it lasts.

The first significant social media IPO since Pinterest in 2019, Reddit’s stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange from Thursday under the ticker symbol RDDT. Of the 22 million shares up for grabs, approximately 6.7 million will be sold by stockholders, with Reddit receiving no proceeds from their sale. The rest will be sold by the company.

At $34 per share, this means that Reddit could potentially raise around $519.4 million from the sale of its stock — provided every share sells, and sells at that price. The offering is scheduled to close on Monday.

There are some impressive-looking numbers, and some of the best Reddit could have hoped for. However, Reddit’s $6.4 billion valuation is still a downgrade from what it was three years ago. The company had been valued at up to $15 billion in late 2021, when it initially began working toward going public. Such plans were subsequently delayed due to issues such as fluctuating markets and high interest rates, with the social media company finally filing its IPO just last month.

r/wallstreetbets bets against Reddit

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While Reddit’s IPO pricing may look promising, the irreverent denizens of stock trading subreddit r/wallstreetbets are largely sceptical. One top comment derisively labelled it a “pump and dump” scheme, a fraudulent tactic in which stock prices are artificially inflated then sold before their value falls. As of writing, it has over 2.3 thousand upvotes.

Others have expressed eagerness to short Reddit’s stock. Shorting is when an investor borrows a share from its owner, sells it to a third party, then later buys it back and returns it. People short stock when they believe its price will fall between them selling the share and buying them back, allowing them to keep the difference in value.

“Can’t wait to short this cess pool after the initial pump,” commented u/AngerFurnace.

Considering Reddit’s history, such apprehension seems reasonable. Reddit’s IPO filing last month stated that the company has “incurred net losses since [its] inception,” and had accumulated a deficit of $716.6 million by the end of 2023. The company has never turned a profit in the 18 years since it was founded, and many Redditors expect its stock to fall soon after the initial excitement wears off.

“Smart people don’t buy shares of a company that’s never made any fucking money,” wrote u/InsideOutPoptart. “This is a scheme to cash in and get out by the owners. Stay away.”

“Millions of young/new investors are about to learn a valuable lesson,” u/Str_ posted.

Even so, a few bold investors still appear willing to take the bet despite unfavourable odds.

“Tesla had negative [earnings per share] for the first decade of its existence,” countered u/ekrekel. “Amazon barely did for its first 7 years.”

Selling ad space and user-generated data directly to businesses is a markedly different beast to selling physical products to the masses. This doesn’t seem to bother Reddit IPO believers, though some look to be buying the stock primarily as a joke.

“Warren Buffett said to invest in companies you know, use, and love,” said FineJuggernaut3295. “I’m long RDDT.”

“I picked up $5k worth for shits figuring I’d be getting rekt, but I gotta admit seeing [r/wallstreetbets] so bearish [i.e. pessimistic] has me feeling like this is going to be a nice little payday,” wrote u/hallidev.

Could r/wallstreetbets take Reddit stock ‘to the moon’?

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r/wallstreetbets made headlines in 2021 when users collectively initiated a short squeeze on GameStop’s stock, buying up the video game retailer’s shares en masse and driving its share prices up. This forced hedge fund Melvin Capital, which had been attempting to short GameStop’s stock, to sell their shares at this elevated price in order to minimise their losses before the value climbed even higher.

This short squeeze significantly contributed to Melvin Capital’s 53 percent loss that January, with the investment firm haemorrhaging $6.8 billion in that month alone. The multi-billion dollar hedge fund shut down mere months later.

As such, the power of r/wallstreetbets shouldn’t be underestimated. The subreddit was even directly referenced as a risk in Reddit’s IPO, stating that its users could contribute to “extreme volatility” in the share’s market price and trading volume. 

Despite numerous jokes and comments, no clearly coordinated plan to manipulate Reddit’s stock has yet emerged on r/wallstreetbets, though this could quickly change. Either way, Reddit’s stock market debut will be interesting to watch. 

Reddit has had a difficult relationship with both its users and moderators as of late. The company was the subject of widespread criticism last year when it began charging developers for access to its application programming interface (API), causing many popular third-party apps to shut down. Moderators shut down numerous subreddits in protest, but were forced to reopen after Reddit threatened the volunteers with removal. Unsurprisingly, the moderators’ attitude toward Reddit is now frosty at best.

The company has been attempting to claw itself into profitability with a slew of unpopular changes, from disallowing users to opt out of ad personalisation to selling user-generated data to train AI models. Such an approach might have contributed to Reddit only losing $90.8 million last year, as opposed to losing $158.6 million the year before.

Unfortunately, Reddit seems to have paid the difference in goodwill — and could keep paying yet.

Amanda Yeo is Mashable’s Australian reporter, covering entertainment, culture, tech, science, and social good. This includes everything from video games and K-pop to movies and gadgets.

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