You Haven’t Heard the Last of the IPO Market

Sep 19, 2011, 12:44 pm EST

After a strong week – where the Dow rose every day — the U.S. markets are falling into another funk on Monday. The main culprit is the debt crisis in Europe: It now looks like Greece will default, which may destabilize other weak economies like Italy and Spain.

Is it any wonder that the IPO market is having problems? The last offering was over a month ago, and there are literally no deals on the current calendar.

Perhaps the most troubling issue, however, is the overall performance of IPOs this year — the average deal has returned a miserable -7.2%. This is the worst run since the dot-com implosion. Read 

Twitter Quietly Building Toward a Loud IPO

Sep 19, 2011, 11:22 am EST
Twitter Quietly Building Toward a Loud IPO

While much of the IPO buzz is about Zynga, Groupon and Facebook, another company is also prepping for a mega-offering: Twitter.

The process has been mostly quiet, but we are starting to see some signs of the process. For example, last week, Twitter’s early board members — Fred Wilson and Bijan Sabet — resigned from their posts. Even the chief scientist, Abdur Chowdhury, is leaving.

In short: Twitter is going through a major transition in its management and governance structure. That is, the team is morphing from start-up people to those who have public-company backgrounds. Read 

Can IPOs Find Their Groove?

Sep 16, 2011, 10:44 am EST

The last IPO to price was on Aug. 16. The company was Tudou (NASDAQ:TUDO), which is the No. 2 online video site in China. It priced its offering at $29, which was in the middle of the proposed $28-$30 range. Now, the stock price is at $23.98.

True, the deal might not be a good gauge of investor sentiment. After all, there is much skepticism about Chinese deals, especially with the concerns about alleged accounting shenanigans. Can these stocks really be trusted? After all, this year has seen a variety of high-profile scandals. Consider that top investors like John Paulson have lost hundreds of millions on these stocks.

But even if the Tudou offering is an outlier, there’s certainly many U.S. transactions that have experienced rough times. Just look at Pandora (NYSE:P), the online music provider. Coming public in June, its stock price has gone from $26 to $10.30. While the company is growing at a rapid rate, the competition has been heating up. Read 

Groupon Gets Its IPO Back On

Sep 15, 2011, 1:16 pm EST
Groupon Gets Its IPO Back On

Continued market volatility has made it been to time public offerings (of course, it is usually no easy feat to do so in normal markets). After all, it looked like Groupon would start trading in September, but it suddenly cancelled its roadshow. At the same time, Zynga pushed back its plans.

But there’s still a lot of pressure to get these deals done. And yes, according to a report in The New York Times, it looks like the Groupon IPO is back on track. The new timeline? The company hopes to launch its deal sometime in late October or early November.

One reason for the delay was a company-wide email from Groupon’s CEO, Andrew Mason. In it, he castigated the press and said his company was doing just fine. These kinds of communications can run afoul of the complex federal securities laws, but it looks like Groupon has resolved the issue with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read 

Facebook: IPO Just a Distraction?

Sep 15, 2011, 10:47 am EST

It seemed like a sure thing — that is, Facebook would go public in the first quarter of 2012. The main reason? Well, it has to do with an arcane federal securities rule that compels companies to start filing quarterly reports when they have 500 or more shareholders. And yes, Facebook has triggered this requirement.

So, might as well do an IPO, right? Interestingly enough, this was the strategy for Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) high-profile IPO back in 2004. Even Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) did the same thing back in the 1980s.

But Facebook might take another tact. According to a report in Financial Times, it looks like the company will launch its IPO during the fourth quarter of 2012. Read 

The Liberty Tax Service IPO Cometh

Sep 14, 2011, 9:54 am EST

It certainly has been a taxing time for companies like H&R Block (NYSE:HRB). During the past three years, the average annual return for the tax prep operator was a dismal 14.76%. What’s more, several rivals have gone bust, such as Jackson Hewitt (though the company recently has gotten approval for a reorganization plan).

But as the United States deals with its budget problems, it seems inevitable that taxes will increase and become more numerous. And despite all the talk of tax reform, the likelihood is laws will get even more complicated.

So it is in this environment that Liberty Tax has filed to go public. The company expects to raise about $90 million in the offering. Read 

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