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How a Dutch Auction IPO Works

Mar 1, 2012, 2:13 pm EDT
How a Dutch Auction IPO Works

Some companies, such as Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), have opted for a so-called Dutch auction when pulling off their initial public offerings. There’s even buzz that Facebook might try it.

But aside from a funny name, what is a Dutch auction IPO? Well, to understand it, let’s first take a look at the traditional approach to pricing an offering. Traditional IPOs

In the IPO process, a company will hire one or two lead underwriters who will help draft the necessary documents, as well as come up with the presentation materials. Read 

Facebook Pumps Up Its Ad Strategy Ahead of the IPO

Mar 1, 2012, 9:58 am EDT
Facebook Pumps Up Its Ad Strategy Ahead of the IPO

With 845 million daily active users, Facebook should be a magnet for advertisers. But it posted only $3.1 billion in ad revenues last year. That made for an increase of 69%. However, the growth rate in 2010 was 145%.

When compared to other Internet giants, Facebook’s advertising base looks fairly small. For example, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) posted $37.9 billion in revenues, and even Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) had $6.3 billion.

So to rev things up — and to make sure it generates lots of interest in its IPO — Facebook has announced a new approach to its advertising strategy.  And the launch event was not at some Silicon Valley shindig. Instead, Facebook took it to where the ad world lives: New York City. Read 

Google+ Is a Hollow Threat to Facebook

Feb 28, 2012, 2:29 pm EDT
Google+ Is a Hollow Threat to Facebook

Over the years, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been masterful in attacking new markets. For example, it found ways to dominate mapping, as well as online video (through the YouTube acquisition). But perhaps the biggest move was launching the Android operating system, which has been a worthy competitor to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS empire.

Yet there is one important category that Google has yet to crack: social networking. Despite all its efforts, Google’s G+ offering just can’t get strong traction.

True, the service has signed up 90 million users since June. But sign-ups are just one part of a successful social network. The other critical element is engagement. In other words, do users stay on the platform for prolonged periods of time? This is vital, as it allows for much more advertising opportunities. It also means third parties — like social gamemaker Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) — can enhance the platform by adding cool apps. Read 

Yelp Leads This Week’s IPO Pack

Feb 27, 2012, 3:56 pm EDT
Yelp Leads This Week’s IPO Pack

Last week saw sizzling activity in the IPO market. Bazaarvoice (NYSE:BV), which is a cloud-based platform that analyzes social media, posted a 37.6% return. But the big winner was Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB), which surged over 81%. The company has an automated system that allows manufacturers to easily prototype new products.

The current week has four IPOs on tap. And the group is fairly diverse — ranging from social media to semiconductors to mortgages. Here’s a look:

Yelp (NYSE:YELP): The company’s website lets customers review local businesses. Since its launch in 2003, it has attracted 25 million reviews and gets 66 million unique users per month. Read 

Social Stock Tracker Remains Stable

Feb 27, 2012, 1:03 pm EDT
Social Stock Tracker Remains Stable

During the past few weeks, the Social Stock Tracker has seen little volatility. This has been the case despite the release of earnings reports from Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD).

And last week, the Social Stock Tracker continued to be fairly sedate.

Read 

The Main Players in an IPO

Feb 26, 2012, 6:30 am EDT
The Main Players in an IPO

The IPO process is extremely complex. A company must abide by onerous regulations, such as the Securities Act of 1934 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. As a result, even top-notch companies can have problems somewhere down the line. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) all faced missteps along the way.

To deal with the complexities, a company must hire a variety of top-notch advisers. Not to mention, businesses also have to get funding from private investors. By the time a company goes public, a ton of people have had their hands in the mix in one way or another. To sort it all out, let’s take a look at the main players in an IPO: Venture Capitalists

Venture capitalists (also just called VCs) are people or firms that invest in early-stage companies. The funding amounts can range from $1 million to $100 million or more. Read 

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