Funko’s new era as a public company got off to a rough start Thursday as shares in the Everett, Wash.-based pop culture figurine maker dropped more than 40 percent on the company’s first day of trading.
Funko priced shares at $12 on the eve of its initial public offering, and after CEO Brian Mariotti rang the Nasdaq opening bell, the freshly minted stock opened at $8. By the end of the day, the stock price sat around $7.
In an interview with GeekWire this afternoon, Mariotti said, “the stock price is the stock price,” and added that investor reactions aren’t going to make the company change direction overnight.
“I told our employees, no matter what happens, whether the stock goes up, or the stock goes down, it’s kind of irrelevant because we haven’t changed anything that we said we are going to do in the future or what we are currently doing now,” Mariotti said. “If you pay attention to something like that and it changes what you are, all of the sudden you have a risk of being unsuccessful.”
Funko can be a tough company to classify. The maker of the popular Pop! figurines is not exactly a toy company or a collectibles company, Mariotti argues. While ringing the opening bell this morning, Mariotti said Funko wants to be the “epicenter of pop culture,” and the company has licenses to create products related to everything from Dr. Seuss to Game of Thrones to the NFL.
This wide range of product types, and how quickly Funko can capitalize on hot new trends in pop culture, puts the company in a category all its own, Mariotti said. Most geeky toy and collectible makers have just a few licenses, locking them into a narrow audience. Funko’s variety, Mariotti said, gives the company mass appeal.
But it’s not an easy story to tell. Mariotti said he had more than 80 meetings as part of the company’s “road show” prior to the IPO in eight days. For some investors, it may take awhile for the story to resonate, Mariotti said.
“We’ve got to look at it as motivation,” Mariotti said about the lukewarm response from investors on the company’s first day of trading. “There are people who don’t understand the full story. It’s our job and my job to educate them on who and what we are and why we are so excited about the business of pop culture.”
As it prepared to go public, Funko scaled back the size of its offering. Previous filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission show that Funko eyed raising up to $245 million by selling 13.3 million shares, with 2 million more in underwriter options, at $14 to $16 a piece. At the $12 initial price, with fewer shares up for grabs, Funko could raise up to $143 million.
Mariotti said Funko scaled down the IPO primarily because the management team didn’t want to sell its shares.
Funko becomes the second Seattle-area company to go public this year, joining technology-powered real estate brokerage Redfin. The 575-person company posted $426.7 million in net sales in 2016, bringing in a profit of $26.88 million, according to financial records within the IPO documentation. Though the company also revealed that it is carrying $319.1 million in debt, and it needs to continue generating cash flow to make payments.
Paying off debt was one of a triumvirate of reasons Funko decided to go public. Mariotti said the company also wanted to reward employees for their hard work via stock options and attract top-tier talent to its new headquarters in Everett, Wash.