Roku shares surge on debut

Shares of the streaming box maker rose about 30 percent minutes after they debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market Thursday. Fred Katayama reports.

(REUTERS / ROKU / AMAZON) – About an hour after its CEO rang the opening bell, Roku debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares of the pioneer that helped spark the cord cutting wave from cable TV vaulted higher, up as much as 30 percent in the first eight minutes, valuing Roku at about $1.8 billion. The company had raised about $220 million in its IPO.

Roku makes the boxes hooked up to TVs that allow users to stream video from services like Netflix and Hulu. It also earns advertising revenue from media companies with apps on its platform. But now that tech titans such as Apple, Amazon and Google make similar devices, Roku has opened up its platform to more TV apps. It now offers over 3,000 channels itnernationally.

The markets are viewing Roku as a bellwether after IPO duds from Snapchat owner Snap and meal delivery provider Blue Apron earlier this year.

Phoenix Financial Services’ Wayne Kaufman


“These IPOs were just terrible. Investors lost a lot of money. And that can make people gunshy. So we would like the Roku IPO to be good and successful. So far it is. It’s trading above where it opened. And that would be a good thing. It would gtive people a little more confidence on the next round of IPOs in technology.”

Roku boasts more than 15 million active accounts. But it hasn’t made money, and its loss widened in the latest quarter.