Unity shares close up 31% following market debut

Shares of Unity, a video game software developer, closed up 31.44% after its market debut Friday. 

The company priced its shares at $52 after it lifted the range on Wednesday to between $44 and $48. The stock began trading at $75 per share and closed at $68.35.

The stock trades under the symbol “U” on the New York Stock Exchange. Investors include DFJ, Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake Partners, according to the company’s S-1/A. 

“The primary reasons for going public were more related to what was right for our company, not so much the amount of capital we could raise,” Unity CEO John Riccitiello told CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” Riccitiello said he appreciated the “discipline” of financial reporting, and that the “public currency” would help it hire more people.

Founded in 2004, Unity has become a major player in game creation over the past decade by giving developers the tools to create 3D titles for phones, consoles and the web without having to code for each platform. The company said in its prospectus that it has 1.5 million monthly active creators and that developers using its software are seeing over 3 billion downloads a month. 

“Pokemon Go” and “Iron Man VR” are among the games developed using Unity’s software. It’s also used for games published by Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Tencent and Ubisoft.

Unity’s revenue in the first half of 2020 rose 39% from a year earlier to $351.3 million and the number of customers spending $100,000 or more increased to 716 from 515. Unity’s net loss in the first six months of the year narrowed to $54.1 million from $67.1 million a year ago.

The company announced that employees and former employees, excluding executive officers and directors, can sell up to 15% of their vested holdings from the time the stock opens through Sept. 30. Typically, employees and insiders have to hold on to their shares for a lock-up period, which usually is six months.

Unity’s market debut closes one of the busiest weeks for IPOs. It follow’s cloud company Snowflake’s debut, which more than doubled in value on Wednesday. 

— CNBC’s Ari Levy contributed to this report. 

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