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GoPro jumps on Nasdaq debut

New York - GoPro, whose cameras let surfers, skiers and sky divers record their exploits, gave investors an adrenaline rush of their own as it jumped in its debut following an initial public offering.

GoPro gained 31 percent to $31.34 in New York, after the company and its shareholders raised $427 million by selling the shares for $24 each -- the high end of a marketed range.

GoPro Inc's founder and CEO Nick Woodman (C) celebrates GoPro Inc's IPO with family and staff at the Nasdaq Market Site in New York City, June 26, 2014. Wearable sports camera maker GoPro Inc's initial public offering was priced at $24 per share, an underwriter said, valuing the company at up to $2.96 billion. At Woodman's right is his wife Jill. Credit: Reuters

The IPO, which valued San Mateo, California-based GoPro at $2.96 billion, came a decade after chief executive Nicholas Woodman, 39, started the company.

With almost 3 years of footage uploaded last year by customers, GoPro is tapping a younger, selfie-driven generation and plans eventually to make money from that content.

“Everybody of course was very curious about our media business and what we believe it can grow into,” Woodman said today in an interview.

“The answer is that it’s a natural extension of our existing business. Our focus is to help customers capture, manage, share quality content.”

Woodman conceived of the idea for GoPro during a surfing trip after the Internet marketing firm he started after college went belly up during the dot-com bust.

At the IPO price, his post-offering stake in the company of 52.4 million shares would be valued at about $1.3 billion.

Voting Control

Woodman sold 3.6 million shares in the offering, according to the prospectus, equivalent to $85.5 million of stock.

He pared his voting control to about 48 percent from 49 percent, the filing shows.

Selling shareholders also included Riverwood Capital, Foxconn Technology and Sageview Capital Partners.

GoPro users’ videos showcase everything from a pelican’s eye view to bungee-jumping off a bridge, and the company is creating a media platform to profit from that content.

GoPro’s business selling waterproof cameras for $199.99 to $399.99 is already profitable.

It sold 3.8 million cameras last year.

The company’s profit margin narrowed to 37 percent in 2013 from 43 percent in 2012, as research and development costs doubled, regulatory filings show. Revenue jumped 87 percent.

GoPro distributes user-generated content through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

On Google’s YouTube alone, there have been more than 500 million views of GoPro videos.

While the company hasn’t yet derived revenue from media, it expects to start collecting fees this quarter from advertising through its partnerships with Microsoft’s Xbox Live and channels on YouTube and Virgin America.

GoPro is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under GPRO. - Bloomberg News

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