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Empire State Building May Go Public

Nov 30, 2011, 1:24 pm EDT
Empire State Building May Go Public

New York’s wealthy Malkin family filed an 8-K on Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission about the possibility of taking the Empire State Building public. It would be through a real estate investment trust, which is a typical structure for these kinds of deals. These REITs, by law, must return 90% of taxable income back to shareholders.

It was back during the Great Depression that John Raskob built the 102-story Empire State Building — at the time, an all-in bet on the US economy. And while it was a money-loser for many years, it ultimately turned out to be a profitable venture.

As is typical in the New York commercial market, the Empire State Building has seen several owners. They include Prudential Insurance (NYSE:PRU) as well as Leona Helmsley. Read 

ExactTarget Takes Aim at IPO

Nov 30, 2011, 12:36 pm EDT

More than 10 years ago, Scott Dorsey, Chris Baggott and Peter McCormick saw an opportunity to build an online marketing firm called ExactTarget. But when the dot-com bubble popped, the idea seemed like a loser. However, with much less competition, ExactTarget was able to build a top-notch firm.

Yet its IPO ambitions have been rocky. In 2009, ExactTarget tried to pull off an offering, but there wasn’t enough interest. The global economy was still trying to cope with the financial crisis.

Why not give it another try? ExactTarget filed its plans for an offering last week. Underwriters include JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Stifel Nicolaus. Read 

How Facebook Won

Nov 30, 2011, 11:33 am EDT

Tarang Shah, a former venture capitalist, interviewed over a dozen of his old peers to learn how billion-dollar companies are created. He turned this into a book called Venture Capitalists at Work, which was recently released.

I interviewed Tarang about one of the topics in the book – Facebook.

InvestorPlace: Could Friendster, which got its start in 2002, have been the winner in social networking? Read 

Rib-X Pharma Set to Go Public

Nov 29, 2011, 12:37 pm EDT
Rib-X Pharma Set to Go Public

Rib-X Pharmaceuticals has some big-time founders, including top academics in biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics.  In fact, co-founder Thomas Steitz won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2009 for his work on the structure and function of the ribosome.

Up next for Rib-X is an IPO. The lead underwriter is Deutsche Bank, and the proposed ticker symbol is “RIBX.”

Rib-X focuses mainly on the three-dimensional qualities of antibiotics.  This is done by analyzing the atomic level of the ribosome.  With this innovative approach, Rib-X is targeting major areas like drug resistance as well as serious bacterial infections. Read 

How Zynga Could Be Done In by Data

Nov 29, 2011, 12:00 pm EDT
How Zynga Could Be Done In by Data

When it comes to negative publicity, Groupon (Nasdaq:GRPN) has certainly gotten its share.  Yet the company was able to recently pull off an IPO that raised $700 million.  Unfortunately, its performance since then has been scary, with the stock off a grueling 41%.

What might this portend for social gaming company Zynga?  For the most part, the company has been mostly under the radar — until the last couple weeks.  The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece about Zynga’s practices with stock grants.  Allegedly, the company was thinking of clawing back some of these lucrative arrangements from employees so as to lessen the overall dilution.

And this week, there was another stinging profile in The New York Times that came to the conclusion that Zynga’s CEO, Mark Pincus, has created a brutal culture that could ultimately harm the company. Read 

Facebook IPO: Get Ready!

Nov 29, 2011, 9:37 am EDT
Facebook IPO: Get Ready!

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg must be a good poker player. Even during a recent interview on the Charlie Rose show, he showed little enthusiasm for an IPO. Based on his look of indifference, it seemed that going public wasn’t a topic of discussion at his company.

However, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the IPO process is definitely in motion. The company’s CFO is talking to bankers and discussing important points, like the valuation. It seems that a $100+ billion deal is a real possibility — with a capital raise of $10 billion. The target date is between April and June, which should be enough time to get through the regulatory hurdles with the Securities &  Exchange Commission.

So, what might be the reaction? Based on recent social deals, like Groupon (NYSE:GRPN), Pandora (NYSE:P) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), it may not be a slam dunk. All of these companies have seen significant drops in their stock prices since their debuts. Read 

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