Asset management firm BlackRock Inc. disclosed a stake of at least 5 percent in the Jack Dorsey-led payments technology company Square Inc. Friday. The stake announcement came even as the company shed more than 13 percent of its market value since the beginning of the year.
In a filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, BlackRock said it was acquiring a stake of roughly 2.8 million shares, valued at $31.6 million at Square’s current stock price. Investors are required to report to the SEC when they own a 5 percent stake or more in any publicly traded company.
San Francisco-based Square, founded by Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey, was one of the most prominent Silicon Valley startups referred to as "unicorns," or private companies valued at $1 billion or more. However, when the company went public in November 2015, it was valued at up to $4.2 billion — 30 percent less than in a private fundraising around a year ago.
Since then the company’s shares have stayed largely in the $12 to $13 range. The company has failed to put investors at ease as its revenues reportedly grew at a slower-than-expected pace. In a recent third quarter filing, Square said it posted a loss of $53.9 million on $332.2 million in revenue, indicating slower revenue growth than before and widening losses, according to Fortune.com.
Wedbush analyst Gil Luria lowered his price target on Square’s shares to $11 from $12 citing concerns that the company will struggle with high costs and low monetization potential, according to Seekingalpha.com.
BlackRock’s stake could be considered a positive sign as it shows that the money management firm sees a long-term potential for growth in the company.
Of the 13 Wall Street analysts polled by Marketbeat.com, a majority maintained a bullish view of the company’s prospects with a "buy" rating on its stock.