Bazaarvoice’s IPO Comes Crashing Down

Growth continues to be strong -- but apparently not strong enough

Back in February, cloud operator Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ:BV) priced its IPO at $12, and the stock quickly ran up to $21. But since then, the stock’s performance has been brutal. Just today, the shares are off by 10% to a new low of $9.43.

Bazaarvoice develops software that allows retailers to leverage social media like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), online reviews and mobile apps. Its growth rate has been substantial. In the latest quarter, revenues spiked by 54% to $38.6 million, and the company added customers like Hilton, Target (NYSE:TGT) and Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN). However, earnings per share came to a loss of 7 cents.

The Street consensus was for revenues of $38.52 million and EPS of minus 10 cents. But in light of the decline in Bazaarvoice’s stock price, it looks like investors thought there would be even more growth.

The company is also experiencing some uncertainty with its leadership. Brett Hurt recently left as the CEO. His replacement is Stephen Collins, who was formerly CEO of Juris and the CFO of DoubleClick. His began his career as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Yet does it make sense for a financial person to be running a cutting-edge tech firm?

At the same time, Bazaarvoice could face some headwinds going into 2013. The info-tech spending environment is likely to get tough. And yes, it’s often easy for companies to cut back during hard times on experimental marketing efforts such as for social media.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders” and How to Create the Next Facebook.”  Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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