VC Cameron Lester Talks Up Tumblr

Oct 25, 2011, 2:21 pm EST
VC Cameron Lester Talks Up Tumblr

I recently talked to Cameron Lester, who is a venture capitalist at Azure Capital. His firm has backed breakout companies like VMware (NYSE:VMW) and Bill Me Later, which was sold to eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). Cameron also was an early investor in (NYSE:CRM).

For the most part, we talked about his portfolio companies, especially Zend (provides cloud technologies) and Twitvid (allows for sharing of videos on Twitter). But I also snuck in a couple questions about the IPO market.

For the most part, he does not expect to see a flood of IPOs hit the market, at least over the next year. As should be no surprise, he thinks serious macroeconomic issues will continue to make things difficult for companies to come public. Read 

Zynga Priming Pre-Turkey Day IPO

Oct 25, 2011, 10:39 am EST

It’s going to be a busy November for IPOs.

On Nov. 4, Groupon will see if it can find enough buyers for its deal at a hefty $11-plus billion valuation. Then, on the week of Nov. 24, game-maker Zynga will try to pull off its offering, according to a Reuters report. Zynga’s valuation actually is expected to be $14 billion (at least according to the prospectus). This would make the company more valuable than Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS).

Crazy stuff? Perhaps. But Zynga clearly is the dominant player in social games, especially on the Facebook platform. Popular titles include FarmVille and CityVille. In all, Zynga’s games have about 60 million average daily active users. Read 

Guidewire Software Looks to Insure IPO Success

Oct 24, 2011, 11:06 am EST
Guidewire Software Looks to Insure IPO Success

From 1999 to 2001, Marcus Ryu was vice president of strategy for Ariba (Nasdaq:ARBA). It was a good way to understand big changes in the software industry. His next stint was to start his own company, Guidewire Software, to serve the insurance industry.

It worked quite well. Now, Guidewire is gearing up for its next phase – becoming a public company. The underwriters for the company’s IPO include JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. The offering is likely to hit the markets in early 2012.

The main focus for Guidewire is on the property & casualty marketplace. Essentially, the company’s software handles a policy administration, claims management and billing. Read 

Will Google Bid for Yahoo?

Oct 24, 2011, 10:55 am EST
Will Google Bid for Yahoo?

Tom Taulli, lead writer for the IPO Playbook, chats with Bloomberg TV about the prospect of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) providing financing for an acquisition of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) by another company or a group of bidders.

Here’s Tom speaking with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.”


Are IPOs a Thing of The Past?

Oct 21, 2011, 12:20 pm EST
Are IPOs a Thing of The Past?

There’s definitely a lot of IPO buzz this week, especially with Groupon getting ready for its offering. Based on its latest filing, the company could be worth more than $11 billion.

But Zynga also expects to hit the market within a month or so. And of course, investors are eagerly awaiting the Facebook IPO.

So, things are looking much better, right? Maybe not, according to a recent study titled “Where Have All the IPOs Gone?” from University of Florida professor Jay Ritter. Read 

Groupon Reins in Pricing in IPO Filing

Oct 21, 2011, 10:00 am EST
Groupon Reins in Pricing in IPO Filing

Unless there is an implosion in the stock market, Groupon should be a publicly traded company within two weeks or so. To get things rolling, the company on Friday filed its latest amendment to its S-1, which provides all the necessary information for investors to evaluate the deal (the listing will be on the Nasdaq, with the symbol “GRPN”).

The last step is for the company’s 30-year old CEO, Andrew Mason, to pitch the deal on the road. Hopefully, he won’t be too goofy, which has been his reputation.

But based on the filing, Groupon’s bankers — which include Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) — feel comfortable selling 30 million shares at $16 to $18 apiece. At the top of this range, the company would sport a valuation of $11.4 billion, and it would be trading at more than six times revenues. Read 

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