Citadel Securities Tapped by Asana for NYSE Direct Listing
A monitor displays signage for Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group AG, and Citadel Securities LLC on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Citadel Securities Tapped by Asana for NYSE Direct Listing

Citadel Securities LLC, the market-maker majority owned by Ken Griffin, is helping ensure a smooth direct listing for software maker Asana Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.

Asana tapped Citadel Securities as the designated market-maker as it pursues a direct listing, rather than a traditional initial public offering, said the person, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.

It’s another coup for Citadel Securities, which also worked on direct listings of Spotify Technology SA and Slack Technologies Inc. The designated market-maker role is often seen as elevated in a direct listing as there are fewer banks involved in such deals, and the market-maker has been making an upsized appearance in Silicon Valley as it pursues these listings.

Representatives for Citadel Securities and Asana declined to comment.

The Asana listing may help solidify a model that’s only been tested a handful of times. In a direct listing, designated market-makers help determine demand and pricing for the shares and help maintain orderly trading at the open.

Asana has chosen Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. as financial advisers, according to listing paperwork filed Monday.

The company is going public in a more volatile market than prior years. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index -- or VIX -- has as averaged about 30 so far in 2020, roughly double the level from when Slack went public in June of last year.

Pete Giacchi, a senior designated market maker at Citadel Securities, told Bloomberg Television this month that more market swings shouldn’t be a deterrent for future direct listings.

Asana has been trading at valuation of about $5 billion in the secondary market, a person with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg this month.

Palantir Technologies Inc., the data-mining company backed by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, filed to go public through a direct listing Tuesday.

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