Roblox: The Path to Going Public

By Anne Beyer, Robert Siegel, Gelila Bekele
2022 | Case No. E795 | Length 18 pgs.

The leadership team of Roblox was contemplating a public offering in December 2020. Roblox was an online video game platform that offered developers a platform for building new games and a global social network for publishing and hosting online games. Roblox had filed its S-1 prospectus with the SEC, and registered to go public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with the ticker symbol “RBLX.” However, at the last minute, a series of market events occurred that made other public listing channels potentially more attractive. Guthrie and the Roblox team must decide whether to delay the IPO, pull the IPO prospectus altogether or list shares through alternative routes such as a direct listing or a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

The Roblox case chronicles the firm’s evolution from launch to IPO, highlighting the various funding rounds and market events that impacted the company’s public offering in 2020. The case details the process the Roblox team followed to decide between a traditional IPO, a direct listing or a SPAC. Students are encouraged to explore the advantages and disadvantages of different channels for going public, who the stakeholders are in the decision, and the importance of market timing.

Learning Objective

This case is designed to help students:

  • Understand the benefits and tradeoffs of IPOs and direct listings.
  • Evaluate how fundraising decisions are made within a tech start-up.
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