Scribd Plans to Go Public at $1 Billion Valuation

Scribd Inc., an online platform for e-books, podcasts and audio books, is in discussions to go public as soon as this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company has held talks with potential advisers about an initial public offering or merger with a blank-check company, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Scribd could be valued at about $1 billion in any transaction, the people said. While no final decision has been made, an IPO by the fourth quarter is a possibility, one of them said.

Launched in 2007, Scribd is a subscription service for online content including books, magazines, news and podcasts. Scribd raised $58 million in its most recent funding round, led by Spectrum Equity, in 2019, according to a statement at the time. The company was last valued at about $450 million in 2019, two of the people said.

“We do not have a comment about an IPO, but I can tell you that we continue to assess the best path forward for the Scribd business and its shareholders,” Trip Adler, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an emailed statement.

Spectrum Equity didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Spectrum Equity is a growth-equity firm focused on internet, software and information-services investments. Its other content-related investment includes meditation app Headspace.

Demand for audio content is growing. In June, Spotify Technology SA said it acquired podcast-preview generator Podz, and in December, Inc. -- which owns Audible, a Scribd competitor -- agreed to buy podcasting company Wondery. Amazon followed that purchase with the acquisition of podcast-hosting platform Art19 in June.

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