Saturday, 21 July, 2018


High-end speaker company Sonos is going public

A wall of Sonos speakers signed by musicians at the company’s Seattle office A wall of Sonos speakers signed by musicians at the company’s Seattle office
Conrad Doyle | 08 July, 2018, 19:06

Along with rich rivals, the company warned that an escalation of the trade war between the USA and China could significantly damage its business. For example, Sonos One and Sonos Beam feature voice-control enablement powered by Amazon's Alexa technology while Amazon now competes by offering speaker products of their own. However, the company did set a placeholder amount of $100 million. It plans to list on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol SONO, according to a regulatory filing Friday. With Alexa-powered Sonos speakers, customers can use voice commands to play music and operate other smart devices.

But as Sonos goes public, it's required to disclose any potential risks to its business.

The company named Bang & Olufsen A/S, Bose Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. among its main rivals, alongside newer entrants Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google. "As such, it is possible that Amazon, which sells products that compete with ours, may on limited notice disable the integration, which would cause our Sonos One or Sonos Beam products to lose their voice-enabled functionality".

It also points to the opportunity presented by growing interest in voice assistants - Sonos released its first voice-enabled speaker, the Sonos One, last year, but rather than building its own assistant, it integrates with Amazon Alexa and has plans to add support for Apple's Siri (via Airplay 2) and Google Home this year. This filing gave some insight into the financials behind the company. "Because AWS runs its own platform that we access, we are vulnerable to both system-wide and Sonos-specific service outages at AWS".

The company says it has registered over 19 million devices since it was founded in 2002. Users listened to 5 billion hours of audio content using Sonos products in fiscal 2017, up 33% year-over-year.

In preparation for its anticipated IPO, Sonos cut about 6 per cent of its workers to help boost profitability. The company made almost $1 billion in revenue in the past fiscal year, although it had a net loss of 14.2 million.

Its next largest holders are Index Ventures and Sonos co-founder and chief executive officer John MacFarlane, who each own about 13 per cent.

Sonos had raised $455 million from investors including KKR, Index Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.

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