Private Equity Firms Gear Up for an IPO Boom

Mar 27, 2012, 1:50 pm EST
Private Equity Firms Gear Up for an IPO Boom

This year might be a turning point for the major private equity players like  Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and KKR (NYSE:KKR).

Right now, the IPO market appears to be picking up momentum. In other words, private equity firms are likely to push hard to get their portfolio companies public.

Perhaps the first major deal will be Michaels Stores, which is the largest specialty retailer of arts and crafts. According to Reuters, it looks like the company’s private equity backers — Blackstone and Bain Capital — will file the necessary papers for an IPO by next week. The report also indicated that the lead underwriters will be JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Read 

How the JOBS Act Will Revolutionize IPOs

Mar 27, 2012, 12:16 pm EST
How the JOBS Act Will Revolutionize IPOs

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act by a 73-26 vote. The legislation will make it much easier for companies to raise money and go public, and it also will allow individual investors to participate in early-stage financings.

The bill has been sent back to the House for another vote — but this is likely to be a formality, considering it originally passed the House on an easy 390-23 vote, and President Barack Obama has said he’ll sign the legislation.

Still, like much legislation, there’s a bit more to the bill than what the name would imply. So let’s take a look at some of the JOBS Act’s key provisions: Read 

Groupon Wants to Be Big With Small Business

Mar 26, 2012, 2:27 pm EST
Groupon Wants to Be Big With Small Business

Last week, Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) acquired FeeFighters, which provides online comparisons for small-business payment providers, for an undisclosed price.

The deal wasn’t loudly celebrated, but this move and others might mean that Groupon wants to be a broad-based provider of services for small businesses — not just a daily-deals operator.

And that might be a prudent move, considering the difficulties Groupon has had in trying to reach a profit. The small-business segment is enormous and has boosted the fortunes of top companies like Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) and ADP (NYSE:ADP). Read 

BATS Wins the ‘Gold’ for IPO Disasters

Mar 26, 2012, 1:56 pm EST
BATS Wins the ‘Gold’ for IPO Disasters

The attempted BATS IPO was a classic case of a worst-case scenario. The company, which operates the No. 3 stock exchange in the U.S., experienced a malfunction of its software system on the day of its own offering. And the glitch not only sabotaged BATS’ offering, but even resulted in a 9% drop in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares — which at least a few investors watch.

When the CEO of BATS, Joe Ratterman, was on the road show for the past couple weeks, he stressed how his platform was built with cutting-edge technologies and bragged about its sterling uptime and its efficiency.

Somehow, HAL 9000 came to life, and BATS took its place among the most disastrous all-time IPOs. Let’s see where BATS ranks on the podium, as well as the other flops earning a mention. Read 

9 IPOs on Tap This Week

Mar 26, 2012, 1:45 pm EST
9 IPOs on Tap This Week

It’s going to be a busy week for IPOs, with nine deals planned to hit the markets. Here’s a look at three that are likely to stand out: Annie’s

Annie’s (NYSE:BNNY) sells a line of natural and organic foods, with No. 1 positions for macaroni and cheese, snack crackers, fruit snacks and graham crackers. The products are in over 25,000 retail locations in the U.S. and Canada. Distribution partners include Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Whole Foods (NYSE:WFM).

Annie’s brand has garnered customer loyalty — and has been able to command premium pricing. From fiscal 2007 to 2011, sales went from $65.6 million to $117.6 million, and income from operations came to $15.1 million last year. Annie’s also has focused on large market opportunities, such as the company’s recent entry into frozen pizza. Read 

BATS IPO Blows Up — and Shakes Up Apple

Mar 23, 2012, 1:34 pm EST
BATS IPO Blows Up — and Shakes Up Apple

The No. 3 stock exchange operator in the U.S., BATS (BZX:BATS) — or Better Alternative Trading System — had a disastrous IPO today. The company priced its shares at $16, which was at the low end of its $16 to $18 range. And then the stock plunged to below a penny.  These trades have actually been cancelled and the IPO has been halted.

Keep in mind that BATS listed its IPO shares on its own exchange. Unfortunately, it looks like its computers went berserk. They even resulted in a 9% plunge in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares (the stock is back to normal levels). That would have been a loss of $50 billion in market cap!

If this weren’t bad enough, there’s also a big story in The Wall Street Journal today about how the Securities &  Exchange Commission is investigating high-frequency trading. The article mentioned BATS as one of the targets. Read 

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