Starry nears its NYSE debut
Fixed wireless broadband specialist Starry said it is poised to make its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Tuesday (March 29) under the ticker symbol, "STRY." The debut will mark the next phase in Starry's plan to compete with incumbent cable operators and telcos in dozens of US markets.
Starry's entrance as a public company comes on the heels of its previously announced combination with FirstMark Horizon Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Starry said the transaction, which secured approval from FirstMark shareholders on March 16, implies a pro forma enterprise value of $1.76 billion, with gross proceeds of $176 million.
Chet Kanojia, Starry's founder and CEO, will continue to head up the company after it goes public. Tied into the combo with FirstMark, Rob Nabors, director of North America for the Gates Foundation, and Elizabeth Graham, COO of Indigo, will join Starry's existing board, which includes former OpenTV Chairman and CEO and cable engineering legend Jim Chiddix.
The transaction and move to the NYSE come as Starry presses ahead with an ambitious growth plan. Funds locked in from the IPO will help to fuel Starry's buildout plan, which targets a service expansion covering more than 40 million households, including launches in markets such as Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Detroit and Philadelphia. It's also targeting a subscriber base of 1.4 million and revenues of $1.1 billion by 2026.
Starry's service plans are focused on millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, including licenses and holdings in the 24GHz and 34GHz bands.
Starry, a fixed wireless service provider focused on both multiple-dwelling units (MDUs) and single-family homes that launched in 2016, ended the fourth quarter 2021 with 63,230 customers, up 83.3% year-over-year. Starry's uncapped high-speed Internet service delivers up to 200 Mbit/s for $50 per month. The company also tosses in a Wi-Fi router for no added cost.
With service currently available in parts of Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio, Starry also ended 2021 with 5.3 million total serviceable households, up 27.5% from the year-ago period. That equates to a customer penetration of 1.19%, up 43.7%.
The company's reach also includes almost 56,000 public and affordable housing units coming way of the Starry Connect Program. Those units are eligible for participation in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program, the broadband subsidy program that succeeded the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
Amid its proposed deal with FirstMark last fall, the company predicted it would lose $105 million in EBIDTA in 2021, $75 million in 2022 and $42 million in 2023 – and then fly past the break-even point in 2024.
"Today marks an important milestone and step forward for our company," Kanojia said in a statement. "We founded Starry to re-imagine how consumers connect to the internet because we knew we could build uniquely innovative wireless technology to deliver a superior customer experience at a dramatically lower cost – upending an industry that has largely been untouched by competition."
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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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