When the market closed on Wednesday, the public had been given its chance to invest in Pandora, the popular online music service that has been expanding its tens of millions-strong user base for years. The people responded warmly, pushing the stock price up to over $17 and giving the company a market cap of close to $2.8 billion.
Is that a little high? In the first three months of 2011, Pandora reported revenue in excess of $90 million -- but it still lost money, to the tune of about $300,000. The company isn't profitable, but it has been christened a success by the people that matter: you.
Pandora is just the latest in what Wired's Sam Gustin has called "a full-blown IPO gold rush." Other tech companies have recently moved into the public trading space and many, many more are rumored to be preparing IPOs for later this year or early 2012. Watch, then, for Facebook to hit the market in what could be the most anticipated IPO ever. Tech bloggers and those just concerned that we could be inflating another bubble have been watching Facebook's value on the secondary markets soar to upwards of $100 billion. How quickly will its market capitalization reach that number, if ever?
Tracking the secondary markets and guessing as to the value of some of these bigger tech companies feels a lot like tossing darts in the dark. We could be inflating another bubble, but that's a different post for a different time. In arguing whether we are or are not, market cap is one of the most important hard numbers we have in making a case. Of course, we don't have a market cap until a company goes public. After today, we have one more point to consider.
A measurement of the size of a business, market capitalization is calculated as the number of outstanding shares of a publicly traded company multiplied by the current share price. As of today, the total market capitalization of all publicly traded companies in the United States is just over $13.5 trillion, or 93 percent of the last reported GDP.
Here, we've gathered just a handful of charts that track the market capitalization of 11 big technology companies to provide you with a better sense of where Pandora fits in, after just one day. The market caps displayed here are from Wednesday afternoon and were provided by Yahoo Finance. LinkedIn is without a chart because it only just went public last month.