After a series of failed attempts, short-form video platform Triller seems determined to go public and has filed an S-1 seeking a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The announcement comes as the company faces ongoing legal disputes and grapples with financial losses, making its journey towards an IPO a challenging one.
Legal Woes and Disputed Payments
Triller’s path to the public market has been fraught with legal battles. The company has faced lawsuits from major music labels Sony Music and Universal Music Group, as well as from renowned rappers Timbaland and Swizz Beats, the creators of the popular Verzuz series. These legal disputes revolve around alleged missed payments, with Sony Music awarded approximately $4.6 million in a recent court order.
The platform has also come under fire for reportedly delaying payments to its Assembly for Black Creators (ABC), drawing criticism and scrutiny. However, in its filing, Triller expressed its commitment to expanding the ABC initiative in 2023 and revealed that it had disbursed $2 million in monthly stipends and revenue sharing to its cohort of 200 creators.
Financial Struggles and Growing Losses
While Triller’s user base has seen impressive growth, boasting 550 million sign-ups across its various offerings, the company has not managed to turn a profit. Triller earned $47.7 million in revenue in 2022, but this was overshadowed by significant financial losses. In 2021, the company reported a staggering loss of $773.6 million, followed by another substantial loss of $195.6 million in 2022.
Such financial struggles are not uncommon for startups, but Triller’s losses have been notably high, raising concerns among investors about the company’s long-term sustainability and ability to generate profits.
Attempts at Going Public: A Rollercoaster Ride
Triller’s ambition to go public dates back to previous efforts. The platform initially attempted to go public via a $5 billion merger with SeaChange International through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) deal, which ultimately fell through, leaving Triller’s IPO plans in limbo.
In another attempt, the company pursued a direct listing last year, but that too did not materialize as expected. Now, with the filing of an S-1, Triller is once again positioning itself for an IPO, hoping to secure the funding needed to navigate its way forward.
Uncertain Future and Investor Interest
The decision to go public represents a crucial moment for Triller, with investor interest piqued by the platform’s growth potential and ability to compete with industry giants like TikTok. However, the ongoing legal battles and persistent financial losses raise red flags for potential investors who will be closely scrutinizing Triller’s performance and stability.
Financial analysts and industry experts acknowledge that Triller’s success in the public market will depend on how effectively the company addresses its legal challenges, improves its financial health, and executes its expansion strategies.
Triller’s journey towards an IPO has been a rocky one, marked by legal disputes, financial losses, and previous attempts that did not bear fruit. The company’s decision to directly list on the New York Stock Exchange reflects its determination to access capital and solidify its position in the competitive short-form video market.
As Triller moves forward with its IPO plans, the industry watches with anticipation, eager to see whether the platform can overcome its hurdles and leverage its impressive user base to turn its fortunes around. Nonetheless, the road ahead remains uncertain, and the fate of Triller’s IPO will be closely tied to its ability to navigate the complexities of the social media landscape and deliver value to its shareholders.