5 Hot IPO Possibilities for 2012

Dec 27, 2011, 10:40 am EDT

2011 has been a bountiful year for social media IPOs. Some of the deals we saw included Pandora (NYSE:P), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Angie’s List (NASDAQ:ANGI) and Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN). But what hot offerings might we see in 2012?

The most obvious one, of course, is Facebook. According to a November piece in The Wall Street Journal, it looks like the IPO will hit the markets in next year’s second quarter. Facebook is expected to raise an enormous $10 billion at a valuation of more than $100 billion.

But what are some of the other deals we might see? It’s mostly speculation, but here’s a look at many worthy candidates: Read 

Facebook Faces Obstacles to Blue-Chip Status

Dec 22, 2011, 1:07 pm EDT
Facebook Faces Obstacles to Blue-Chip Status

While we’ve seen many great tech companies emerge over the years, like Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) and Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) – it looks like Facebook wants to be even bigger.  According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, social network giant’s vision is to become a blue-chip company – one that’s built to last.

Facebook already seems as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) or Proctor & Gamble (NYSE:PG).  And it’s not uncommon for a relatively young company to become a member of that most exalted list of companies:  the Dow Jones Industrials.  Examples include Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) and Intel (Nasdaq:INTC).

Of course, a key part of Facebook’s strategy is to become a public company, which is expected to happen in 2012.  The expectation is that the company will raise $10 billion, which would translate into a valuation of $100 billion. Read 

Avast: Making Tons of Money From Free Software

Dec 22, 2011, 12:58 pm EDT

In 1988, researcher Pavel Baudiš wrote a program to kill a computer virus. Realizing it could be the foundation for a set of technologies, he teamed up with Eduard Ku?era to create the ALWIL cooperative. But it wasn’t until a year later — after the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia — that they could create a new company, Avast, that would be able to seek profits.

Since then, Avast has turned into one of the world’s top antivirus software operators. And yes, it wants to go public. The underwriters include UBS Investment Bank (NYSE:UBS) and Deutsche Bank Securities (NYSE:DB).

Avast’s business is based on the “freemium” model. That is, the company has a free version of its core software. Avast then generates revenues by cross-selling premium products. Read 

Software Vet Offers 3 Truths of the Cloud

Dec 21, 2011, 12:41 pm EDT
Software Vet Offers 3 Truths of the Cloud

Andrew “Flip” Filipowski is among the top business software players in the game.  During the 1980s, he created the largest software company, Cullinet, and then went on to lead Platinum, which was sold to CA (NYSE:CA) for $4 billion.

But Filipowski hasn’t stopped.  His latest company is SilkRoad, which is a Web-based software (the so-called cloud) operator that’s focused on human resources and performance management.  The company has raised $94 million.

As should be no surprise, Filipowski has some interesting views on the tidal changes in business technology. Here are his “three truths of the cloud”: Read 

3 ‘Boring’ 2011 IPOs Worth a Look in 2012

Dec 21, 2011, 7:30 am EDT
3 ‘Boring’ 2011 IPOs Worth a Look in 2012

Investors often focus on IPOs by the most cutting-edge companies. After all, wouldn’t it be great to find the next Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) or Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)?

Yet as we’ve seen this year, these types of whiz-bang companies can be extremely risky. Just look at the post-IPO plunges by Pandora (NYSE:P) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD). Even the profitable Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) saw its stock price fall 10% in its first two days of trading.

Some of the biggest gains by recent IPOs can be found in mundane industries. This has been the case with companies like Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), both of which found ways to innovate long-standing markets. Read 

It’s Tough to Beat Venture Capitalists’ IPO Returns

Dec 20, 2011, 12:40 pm EDT

In Tuesday’s New York Times, Andrew Ross Sorkin points out something that never seems to change: Despite all the regulations and so-called investor protections, the IPO game is rigged.

Sorkin looked at the Zynga (Nasdaq:ZNGA) IPO, which was a disaster for retail investors.  We warned against buying this IPO, but many investors who jumped in, just like they did with other hyped deals like Pandora (NYSE:P) and Groupon (NYSE:GRPN).

Of course, many big-time Wall Street players have done just fine.  Zynga’s lead underwriter, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), even had a double-dip on the deal. It earned over $10 million on the IPO and also probably scored millions from a private placement in February (the actual amount has not been disclosed). And the investment bank is likely to reap even more fees going forward from secondary offerings as well as acquisitions. Read 

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