Yet Again, Michaels Tries for an IPO

Dec 23, 2013, 11:55 am EDT
Yet Again, Michaels Tries for an IPO

Michaels Companies, a retailer for arts and crafts, attempted to pull off an IPO this year. But unfortunately, the plans were derailed because the company’s CEO had a heart attack. So in his place, Michaels brought in a new leader, Chuck Rubin. All in all, he has been a good choice and of course, he has continued the plans for a public offering. In fact, Michaels recently refiled an S-1.

Michaels operates 1,259 stores (which include 122 Aaron Brothers ), making it the leader in its industry. Each location has 36,000 stock-keeping units that include framing, scrapbooking materials, arts supplies, floral and home décor. The company also has an aggressive strategy with social media on Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB).

A key to the success of Michaels is its private-brand products, which provides the company with higher margins. In fact, about 49% of the total offerings are in this category. But Michaels has also leveraged its massive scale and strong brand to snag exclusives from third-party vendors. Read 

CEO Q&A: Digital Security Prospects for 2014

Dec 18, 2013, 10:31 am EDT
CEO Q&A: Digital Security Prospects for 2014

When it comes to IPOs, cybersecurity firms have had a good year — just look at the recent offering of FireEye (FEYE), which is up 95%. But going into 2014, it’s a good bet that the momentum will continue.

To get some commentary on this, I interviewed James Foster, who is the CEO and co-founder of ZeroFOX. Foster is more than just an entrepreneur, though. He also has written more than a dozen books and holds various patents on cybersecurity.

Here’s what he had to say: Read 

AMC IPO Coming Soon – And Investors Should Watch

Dec 18, 2013, 5:57 am EDT
AMC IPO Coming Soon – And Investors Should Watch

AMC Entertainment IPO plans will mark the last public offering for 2013.

The company, which plans to launch its deal on Wednesday, expects to price 18.4 million shares at a range of $18 to $20 each. The lead underwriters of the AMC IPO include Citi (C), BofA Merrill Lynch (BAC), Barclays (BCS) and Credit Suisse (CS). AMC also plans to list on the NYSE under the ticker of “AMC.”

Founded in 1920, the company operates 348 theaters, which include nearly 5,000 screens. In all, the company has about 18% share of the U.S. market and about 40% of the population is within 10 miles of an AMC theater. Read 

TWTR Stock – Despite Twitter Ad Mojo, Analysts Are Skeptical

Dec 17, 2013, 10:46 am EDT
TWTR Stock – Despite Twitter Ad Mojo, Analysts Are Skeptical

Twitter (TWTR) was a mess just a few years ago as the company had troubles building a viable ad business. But with the efforts of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, the situation has vastly improved.

Of course, the highly successful IPO is a sure sign of his success, as seen with the soaring TWTR stock price since it went public.

To give a sense of things, check out a recent report from Ad Age and RBC Capital Markets, which included an extensive survey of 953 social media marketing executives. As should be no surprise, about 70% use TWTR to put together marketing campaigns (such as by drafting tweets, including videos and photos, and so on). Read 

Violin Memory CEO Gets Canned, But VMEM Stock Still Not a Buy

Dec 16, 2013, 1:10 pm EDT
Violin Memory CEO Gets Canned, But VMEM Stock Still Not a Buy

In late September, Violin Memory (VMEM) came public. Unfortunately, the deal got off to a shaky start, as VMEM stock fell 22% on its first day of trading.

That wouldn’t be the end of travails for VMEM stock, as shares went on to plunge 70%. In light of this, it should be no surprise that the Violin Memory CEO Donald Basile has been pushed out.

And while VMEM stock is up 16% on the announcement, it is probably still not a good idea to pick up shares. Read 

5 Reasons Uber Technologies Is One of the Hottest Startup of 2013

Dec 13, 2013, 12:35 pm EDT
5 Reasons Uber Technologies Is One of the Hottest Startup of 2013

While in San Francisco this week, I had lots of meetings with cool companies like Dropbox and Veeva Systems (VEEV). But to get around town, I used a service called Uber Technologies.

Wondering, What is Uber? Well, Uber Technologies operates a ride sharing app that makes it super simple to hail a driver. For the most part, I was able to get picked up within a few minutes each time.

My experience is certainly no exception. I know many loyal customers of Uber Technologies. And as should be no surprise, Uber is a darling of the tech space and is a often mentioned as one of the hottest IPO prospect. Read 

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