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Slack surges 50% in unusual listing, grabs $23 bln valuation

June 18 (Reuters) - Shares of Slack Technologies Inc surged 50 percent in their debut through a direct listing on Thursday, giving the workplace messaging app owner a valuation of about $23 billion.

The stock opened at $38.50, nearly 48% above a reference price of $26 set by the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Slack is the second high-profile technology company after Spotify Technology SA to opt for a direct listing over a traditional IPO.

The direct listing could further pave the way for companies looking to go public without the aid of Wall Street underwriters, who charge millions of dollars in fees. (Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru)