Spotify – the music streaming service – is listing on the US stock exchange (see below for what that means). It says its shares will sell at prices which would add up to value the business at $23bn.
What it means: We spent about half an hour trying to figure that one out. Ready? SO. Usually, when companies 'go public', a bunch of bankers decide what they think the price of shares should be – that's called 'underwriting' – to give everyone else a reference point of where to start. Spotify's not doing that, which means a) existing owners of shares can sell what they have at whatever price they want, and b) Spotify saves millions of dollars in bankers' fees.
Unlike normal stock market listings, Spotify isn't doing this to raise a whole load more money. It's simply allowing its early investors to 'cash out' (so they can actually spend the money on houses and stuff) . It's risky because there's zero guarantee of how much the company and shareholders will get – though based on what shares have been selling at privately (not on the public market) its guess is around $23bn.
If it does raise that much, it'll make it one of the most valuable tech companies in the world... as long as someone bites the bullet and starts buying first.
…and who’s getting the bill for all this? Money is such a core part of the economy, and a lot of economic power lies in the hands of those who print it, earn it, and spend it. But money’s not just as a tool for exchange; it’s taken on a value in itself, and there’s a whole economy around money alone…