VerticalScope, a Toronto-based digital platform for online enthusiasts, has filed to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), making it the latest in a long string of Canadian tech companies turning to public markets.
The more than twenty-year-old company filed its preliminary prospectus on Wednesday, revealing plans for an initial public offering (IPO) of subordinate voting shares. The number of shares, as well as price, have yet to be determined. VerticalScope is set to list in the TSX under the symbol ‘FORA.’
VerticalScope is the second Canadian tech company in as many days to file to list on the TSX. On Tuesday, Toronto-based investor relations company Q4 filed its own preliminary prospectus. Other major companies that have recently turned to the TSX include Thinkific, Magnet Forensics, Vendasta, Dialogue Payfare, among others.
According to The Globe and Mail, which was first to report VerticalScope’s plans for going public, the company is looking to raise $100 million as it looks to increase its merger and acquisition activity. The underwriters for the deal include RBC Dominion Securities, Canaccord Genuity, and National Bank Financial.
UPDATE (31/05/2021): VerticalScope’s preliminary prospectus filed Monday confirms the company hopes to raise $100 million through this transaction. The firm will price its subordinate voting shares between $19 and $23. The deal’s underwriters also include TD Securities, Raymond James, Desjardins Securities, Cormark Securities, and HSBC Securities Canada.
VerticalScope was founded in 1999 and operates a cloud-based digital platform for online enthusiast communities in high-consumer spending categories. Through organic growth as well as acquisitions, which include VarageSale, VerticalScope has built a portfolio of over 1,200 online communities and more than 100 million monthly active users.
Media company Torstar Corporation is a majority shareholder in VerticalScope, having purchased 56 percent interest in the company in 2015.
According to the company’s prospectus, RDL Ventures Inc., an entity controlled by VerticalScope’s founder and CEO, Rob Laidlaw, will directly or indirectly own or control 100 percent of the multiple voting shares of the company, upon completion of the IPO. VerticalScope’s principal shareholders also include NordStar Capital LP, which owns Torstar, and Hedgewood Inc.
VerticalScope recorded $56.9 million in revenue last year between its digital advertising and e-commerce offerings.
VerticalScope is built on the acquisition and integration of over 200 online communities. “We have a successful history of acquiring and integrating communities to expand our footprint. We believe there is a massive opportunity to continue consolidating independent communities and creating value by improving user experience, engagement and monetization,” the company wrote in its prospectus.
The companies current acquisition pipeline includes 20 opportunities, which its estimates could represent over $18 million of adjusted EBITDA collectively, with plans to pursue the deals in the next 12 months. VerticalScope also reported longer-term plans with the potential to acquire 50 online communities that it estimates could represent over $50 million of adjusted EBITDA.