The French audio streaming service Deezer made its debut on the Paris Euronext market Tuesday and immediately plunged 35% from its €8.5 opening, rising slightly to level off at around €6.2 by late in the afternoon.
Earlier this year the company, which is one of the world’s largest streaming services despite a relatively low U.S. profile, merged with I2PO, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), with an eye toward going public at a $1.13 billion valuation. Although it formed in 2007, just a year after Spotify, Deezer has struggled in its efforts to break into a field that has become dominated by Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube. It attempted an IPO in 2015 but backed off after a steep decline in listeners at Pandora radio cooled the market for streaming services.
Today’s curiously timed listing arrives against a backdrop of a possible global recession and Spotify’s value plunging to its lowest price as a public company just two months ago due to weak paid subscriber growth exacerbated by controversies around its top podcaster, Joe Rogan.
“The sector is super competitive,” DZ Bank analyst Manuel Muehl told Yahoo Finance. “There are multiple services – Amazon Prime, Apple Music etc – which are run by large U.S. companies with very deep pockets. [They] can subsidize their business with other income streams, and therefore they do not depend on the success of their music-platforms unlike ‘pure-play’ companies do.”
Regardless, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who attended the ceremony marking Deezer’s market debut, sung its praises on social media. “@DeezerFR’s IPO is not only an economic and technological success, but it is also a cultural success,” Le Maire tweeted. “Defending Deezer is defending our culture… our musical heritage.”
In April, Deezer CEO Jeronimo Folgueira (pictured above) told the Wall Street Journal, “What we’re trying to do with our partners is replicate the Apple and Amazon strategy, but we bring the music product and they bring the user base, so together we can replicate that model. We need to compete against them and our partners need to compete against them, and together we can compete better.”
Paris-based Deezer has 9.6 million subscribers and generated revenue of €400 million in 2021, the company said. In addition to a music catalog of 90 million-plus songs, it also offers as podcasts, audio books and radio channels. While it has a 29% market share in France and 17% in Brazil, its global reach is just 2%, compared with 31% for world leader Spotify, 15% for Apple Music and 13% for Amazon Music, the three largest providers.
According to Deezer’s investor relations site, the company’s largest shareholder with 38.6% is Access Industries, the industrial conglomerate founded by billionaire Len Blavatnik that controls Warner Music Group, with telco operator Orange Participations second with 8.13% and Kingdom Holding Co., which is controlled by Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, third with 5.41%.