Toronto e-commerce company Pivotree Inc. has almost doubled the size of its initial public offering in response to heavy demand from institutional investors who have flocked this year to Canadian tech stocks and online commerce providers.
Pivotree, led by Bill Di Nardo, founder of Canadian e-commerce pioneer Grocery Gateway, originally set out this month to raise $35-million on the TSX Venture Exchange by selling between 4.7 million and 5.4 million shares at $6.50 to $7.50 apiece. The offering is being underwritten by Canaccord Genuity, National Bank Financial, Cormark Securities and Paradigm Capital.
However, two sources familiar with Pivotree say it was overwhelmed by more than $600-million worth of orders for the stock – more than 17 times the offering size. Roughly 80 per cent of that comes from institutional investors, the sources say – a significant amount for a tech issue on Canada’s junior exchange.
As a result, Pivotree increased the expected issue price range to between $7.50 and $8.50 a share this week, and the company and its underwriters priced the stock Tuesday evening at the top of that range – $8.50. The company now expects to raise $60-million, with underwriters granted the right to buy another $9-million worth of stock at the issue price. That would give Pivotree a stock market valuation of about $210-million at issue.
The sources said the offering benefited from Mr. Di Nardo’s reputation as a veteran e-commerce operator and a boom in online commerce during the pandemic as homebound consumers increasingly turned to websites for purchases.
“There is still considerably more room for growth, as has been made clear during the … pandemic, which ushered in a new era of consumer adoption and corporate investment,” Mr. Di Nardo states in the prospectus. The company plans to use the majority of IPO proceeds to fund acquisitions.
The Globe and Mail is not identifying the sources because they are not authorized to speak on the matter.
Pivotree is a technology services company that manages e-commerce operations for medium to large companies, using tools from software providers including Shopify, Elastic Path, Oracle and SAP. Its 150-plus clients include retailers Aldo, Farm Boy, Princess Auto and Simons, and branded-product makers Electrolux, Mitsubishi and Polaris, as well as Thomson Reuters and Boeing.
Mr. Di Nardo’s private capital firm Eventi Capital first invested in Pivotree’s predecessor company in 2007. Eventi bought out founder Brian Shepard in 2015 for $5-million, and Mr. Di Nardo took over, pushing the company to increasingly move its offering onto cloud-hosting services. In 2018, Pivotree bought two e-commerce technology service providers – in Ottawa and Redmond, Wash. – that expanded its capabilities to implement Oracle and SAP tools and helped Pivotree nearly triple revenue to $59.7-million in 2019 from 2017 levels.
Pivotree’s non-recurring revenues have taken a hit because of the pandemic, but overall revenues in the first half of $30.8-million were 8 per cent higher than the same period in 2019, driven by a 16-per-cent gain in recurring revenues. Pivotree lost $2.9-million in 2019.
The IPO is the latest in a slew of offerings by Canadian tech companies in the past year, and the fourth led or co-led by Canaccord in that period, after issues by Docebo Inc., Dye & Durham Ltd., and a forthcoming deal for Vancouver’s BBTV Holdings Inc., which also priced its $172-million IPO Tuesday evening at $16 a share.
Canadian tech stocks have had a strong year in line with global trends with Docebo, Dye & Durham and newly issued Nuvei trading up sharply from their IPO prices. By contrast, Canadian energy company Topaz Energy Corp. priced its IPO this week – the first in Canada’s oil patch since 2018 – at the bottom of its target range amid shaky energy markets.
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