High-end speaker company Sonos is going public

The Sonos family relies on big partners

Sonos cited its net losses and competition from the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Google as potential risk factors, noting how it depends on these companies for some of the features its own speakers provide.

In 2017, Sonos reported revenue of $992.5 million, a 10 percent increase over the prior year, and a $14.2 million loss.

In yet another sign of how home audio systems and smart speakers have become the technology of the moment, speaker maker Sonos has filed to go public.

Sonos on Friday filed for an initial public offering with plans to trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol "SONO". Indeed, Sonos speakers offer a tempting alternative to the Amazon Echo for customers who want to use Alexa, as Sonos speakers offer better sound quality.

Sonos' IPO filing said it planned to raise $100 million. The company set a placeholder amount of US$100 million to indicate the size of the IPO. Should Amazon see a threat from Sonos, the tech giant could disable Alexa on the Sonos One and Beam with little notice, leaving the speakers without voice capabilities, according to the filing.

In a recent interview with Variety, CEO Patrick Spence - while not commenting on the upcoming IPO - said 2018 would be a watershed year for the 16-year-old company.

Sonos has a frenemy-style relationship with Amazon, Google and Apple. Its products are being integrated in Apple's new AirPlay 2 wireless music-streaming system and Google's Assistant.

Also of interest is Sonos' estimate that customers listen to roughly 70 hours of content per month. A little over half of its fiscal 2017 revenue came from outside the US. In the potential risks section of its IPO filing, Sonos notes that the United States big-box retailer Best Buy accounted for 17% of its revenue for the first half of this year, and the ALSO Group-its distributor in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway-accounted for 12%. That could impose a huge financial burden on Sonos if Inventec's operations are disrupted.

Sonos had raised $455 million from investors including KKR, Index Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.

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