Pandora Media claiming prized single-letter stock ticker


It is only possible to have 26 companies trade on the New York Stock Exchange with a single letter as the ticker symbol and they are generally huge companies. For example, C is Citigroup and T is AT&T. Now the letter P is going to be awarded to a relatively tiny start-up: Pandora Media.

The surprising ticker was disclosed in an update to Pandora’s $100 million IPO. That’s a tiny float in NYSE terms, making it all the more unusual that the exchange would hand over a single-letter ticker to the young and small Internet radio company. The letter P has been held in reserve by the NYSE since Phillips Petroleum merged with Conoco in 2002 and the merged company, ConocoPhillips, took the symbol COP.

The IPO prospectus update revealed that Pandora’s full year revenues for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2011 were $137.8 million, up 149.6% from $55.2 million the previous year. Advertising revenues rose 138% to $119.3 million, while subscription revenues were up 265.6% to $18.4 million. The company cautioned in its prospectus to potential investors that the growth rate will likely slow as the service matures.

Costs more than doubled as well, to $138.1 million from $70.6 million. The biggest cost was “content acquisition,” also known as music royalties, which rose to $69.4 million from $32.9 million.

Pandora’s loss from operations decreased to $321K for the most recent year from $15.5 million the previous year, so it is approaching positive cash flow.

No date is yet set for Pandora to sell its stock and begin trading on the NYSE. Nor did the latest SEC filing indicate any pricing range for the IPO.

RBR-TVBR observation: Really? This is just bizarre. The NYSE is giving a single-letter stock ticker to a company that’s doing an IPO of only $100 million. What were they thinking?