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Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn IPO’

Here is an article from CNN Money.

“The stars may very well align for the IPO market in 2010. Literally.

Following one of the worst years in recent memory, public offerings are expected to rebound nicely this year, with potentially much of the action centered around several high-profile companies.

Embattled automaker General Motors, for example, has hinted since last summer that it could once again become a publicly-traded company by year’s end.

Private equity giants Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Apollo Global Management, both of which missed entering the market at the peak of the buyout boom, have both mentioned as possible entries in 2010 recently.

And the IPO rumor mill has been working overtime since social networking giant Facebook introduced a dual-class stock structure in November, a move that often times has preceded a public offering. Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) did the same thing before it went public in 2004.

“I don’t think it is a matter of if[Facebook] can or cannot, it is a matter if they want to,” notes finance author Tom Taulli, who has written extensively about the IPO market.

If Facebook, GM and other brand-name firms decide to enter the public markets, that could help push the number of U.S. offerings far beyond 2009 levels. Last year, just 63 companies went public as investors avoided wading into the market chaos that defined the first half of last year.

Those that did brave the turmoil included a rather strange group of bedfellows –including a Chinese online gaming firm, a company developing lithium-ion batteries for cars and nearly two dozen companies that were backed by private equity firms.

This year though, experts are betting that the IPO market will largely be dominated once again by companies that have been bankrolled by venture capital investors. These companies are typically younger firms as opposed to the mature companies that private equity companies often buy.

During the final months of 2009, 16 venture-backed firms filed to go public, according to Renaissance Capital, a Greenwich, Conn.-based investment firm specializing in IPOs, including drugmaker Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and solar panel producer Solyndra.

With that in mind, Linda Killian, a portfolio manager of the IPO Plus Aftermarket Fund at Renaissance Capital, said that more growth companies are likely to be in this year’s crop of IPOs.

And in the growth company category, there is no industry more buzzed about than social networking.

In addition to Facebook, social networking hotshots Twitter, LinkedIn and Zynga have all been rumored as possible IPO candidates.

Experts tend to agree that it is only a matter of time before many of these firms start considering acquisitions however. And with publicly traded stock, that would certainly give them the currency to do so.

John Fitzgibbon, founder and publisher at IPOScoop.com, said if one social networking company goes public and does well, then conditions would be ripe for the rest to follow.

“You need the trailblazer,” he said. “If Facebook goes into the pipeline, you will probably see more of its competitors start there.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is a good article written by Chris O’Brien, San Jose Mercury News.

“Last week, I reviewed my predictions for 2009. And by grading myself generously, I got 3.5 out of 9. So now it’s on to 2010, when hopefully my foresight, and the valley’s economy, will improve.

It’s tempting to pick some easy targets to inflate my score. But instead, I’m going to make some daring picks, again, because when it comes to punditry, it’s always better to wrong than boring. Or something like that.

So, onward:

1. Palm will be sold.

Sad to say, but it’s inevitable. This will be the year this valley icon ceases to be an independent company. The launch of the Palm Pre and Pixi were valiant efforts. They created an exciting mobile platform and should be valuable to someone else. But sales of the Pre are already stalling. And so is cash flow.

There are plenty of potential buyers out there, from other mobile companies like Motorola and Nokia to other tech biggies like Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which need to get deeper into the mobile space.

2. There will be at least four valley-based green-tech IPOs.

Everyone is predicting a big comeback for the IPO this year. I don’t think that will happen for Silicon Valley. But I think green-tech will be the exception. I had started writing this before Solyndra filed for its IPO. So I’ve only got three to go! Who are the other candidates? Tesla and Silver Springs Networks seem to be increasingly good bets. The fourth will be a dark horse.

3. Intel settles

everything.

The deal with AMD was the first step to putting Intel’s long-running legal feuds in the past. Yes, the legal thicket seem to be getting worse with the filing of the Federal Trade Commission’s case against Intel. But the economy is warming back up, and so are computer and chip sales. Intel will make the smart move by settling these cases so it can focus on reaping the benefits of an improving economy.

4. The mythical beasts will arrive: the Apple Tablet and the Google Phone.

My colleague, Troy Wolverton, says nay, the Google phone will remain a mirage. Indeed, the existence of these two products has been long rumored and much denied. But the increasing chatter about both leads me to believe we’ll see them in 2010.

The intriguing question is: How much will they cost? Apple has recently overcharged for new products like the iPhone, and then brought the price down. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happens with the tablet.

For Google, there’s a radical notion making its way around the valley: What if Google gave away its phone for free, hoping to make money off mobile advertising? Now, that would be truly disruptive. It has the billions in the bank to underwrite such a plan for several years. But does it have the guts?

5. Facebook and LinkedIn won’t go public.

These social networking companies are in no hurry. Facebook is still tweaking its revenue model, as is LinkedIn. When their revenues pick up steam, they’ll eventually bump into some federal rules that require certain financial disclosures, just as Google did early last decade. But they’ve got at least another year before they have to worry about that. In the meantime, their founders are in no rush to give up the control they would lose by going public.

Indeed, I think that sentiment is widespread among many tech startups. Why rush into an IPO? And this is part of the reason why I don’t expect tech IPOs to come roaring back this year. Even Zynga, the social gaming company and long-rumored IPO candidate, recently took a big investment from a Russian firm so it could reduce pressures to go public. Don’t expect to party like it’s 1999.

6. Jobs will post a slight gain.

As a guide, let’s look at the last two recessions in Silicon Valley. The one in the early 1990s was relatively shallow. The number of jobs peaked in August 1990 and then declined for 18 months, before beginning a rebound that lasted the rest of the decade.

Following the dot-com bust, we hit a job peak in December 2000, and then hit bottom 37 months later, in January 2004.

This current downturn falls in between at the moment. Jobs in Silicon Valley peaked in December 2007, so we’ve been headed down for about 23 months. Though that’s complicated, because in recent months, the job numbers have bounced up and down. Still, this downturn feels less severe in the valley than the dot-com bust. So I expect that 2010 is the year we see a net gain in jobs for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

7. Twitter.

Can I do a predictions list and not say something about Twitter? Probably not, so here goes. Twitter’s traffic will decline this year. We’ve seen it stall already in the U.S. and it’s begun to flatten around the globe. I say this, though I remain completely obsessed with Twitter and consider it indispensable at this point.

Unfortunately for Twitter, I never actually visit its site. Rather, I use one of the many third-party applications to write, view and filter tweets. That’s good for me. Bad for Twitter, because it will make it harder for them to make money from me. There’s mumblings recently that not only is Twitter getting revenue, but it may be nearly profitable. But the upside may be limited if Twitter’s traffic is flattening.

8. Google gets hit with an antitrust suit.

The company narrowly skirted a federal anti-trust action in 2008 when it scuttled a search deal with Yahoo. But even though it’s doing its best to cozy up to the Obama administration, and trying to play up it’s “do no evil” motto, there’s some indication that federal antitrust regulators have Google in their cross hairs. Maybe it will be over the controversial Google Book settlement. Maybe it will be over its acquisition of mobile advertising leader AdMob. Or with Google going on an acquisition binge, it could be over some other deal on the horizon. But expect Google and the feds to lock horns in 2010.

9. The number of public companies in Silicon Valley continues to fall.

It’s been falling since 2000. And I see no reason that it will stop this year. That means that acquisitions will rise and consolidation will continue. And while IPOs will reappear, they won’t be enough to make up for the number of public companies that are acquired or go bankrupt.

10. And finally, I’ll end by going way out on a limb: Cisco Systems will buy Dell.

Think about it. Hewlett Packard has been gearing up in recent years to invade Cisco’s turf by moving into the networking space. This is Cisco’s greatest challenge in almost a decade. Cisco will need to respond by buying a PC company both to achieve greater scale and to match the range of products it can offer customers. Cisco has about five times as much market value as Dell, which has been struggling for years to regain its leadership in the PC business, which it lost to HP.

Put Cisco’s line of networking equipment and annual revenue of $36 billion with Dell’s PCs and $61 billion in annual revenue, and you still have a company a bit smaller than HP and its $118 million in annual revenue. But it gets them close.

Cisco’s Chambers has also recently ruled out launching or buying a mobile computing device. But, never say never in the tech world. This an area where both HP, Cisco and Dell need to be in the coming decade.”

This article was posted originally in American Chronicle.

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Here is some good insights from Chris O´brien at SiliconBeat.

“This morning my inbox contained the latest report from Renaissance Capital. It has some hopeful news about IPOs, but not necessarily for Silicon Valley.

First, the good news: ”After an uptick in filing activity, there are 67 companies in the active IPO pipeline, up from 29 in March 2009.”

As far as Silicon Valley is concerned, that’s about as far as the good news goes. Now, here’s the bad news.

According to Renaissance:

“Today, the tech, healthcare and retail growth stories that have driven past market revivals have been conspicuously absent from the latest wave of  IPO hopefuls.  This makes sense, given the historic consumer shut-down and the anti-business and investment rhetoric emanating from Washington.  In their place, there is a pool of unusual candidates shaped by an era of cheap credit and  the unprecedented mortgage crisis that followed.  At least for the near term, it appears that the IPO market will be dominated by opportunistic investment vehicles and businesses from the mid-decade buyout bubble.”

And his post concludes:

Currently, there are seven venture-backed companies in the IPO pipeline. Could there be more? Renaissance gives a round up of likely suspects:

“Besides the social networking giants Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, there have been several other rumored IPO candidates from the VC community as the market began to recover in early March.  Near-term, we expect the majority of new venture-backed IPO filings to come from the technology and alternative energy sectors.  Potential IPO prospects from each of these industries include online games company Zynga, ethernet network equipment provider Force10 and property & casualty software maker Guidewire in the technology sector, and smart grid company Silver Spring, solar panel maker Solyndra and electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors in alternative energy.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is a recent article from CNN.

“If you have been an investor in technology IPOs in recent months you’ve done well.

Starting in April, and really gathering momentum this summer, there has been a slew of tech companies that leapt through the public market window including Changyou (CYOU), Rosetta Stone (RST), OpenTable (OPEN), and most recently Emdeon (EM).”

The article continues,

“Right now in Silicon Valley, investment bankers are busy making the rounds of promising portfolio companies trying to convince them of the wisdom of an IPO. There is always the question of what kind of company can – or should – go public. During the last wave of tech IPOs, after the dotcom bust, the rule of thumb was that firms with $100 million in revenue and profitability were IPO candidates.

Investment bankers on the prowl in Silicon Valley

Now, according to one prominent venture capitalist who asked to remain anonymous, investment bankers are telling him, “If a company can show revenue of $15 million per quarter, a good business model – and if not profitability, a path to profits – they can deliver an oversubscribed offering.” (One wonders wonder whether these simply are investment bankers who have had nothing to do for the last 12 months, trying to make their bonus figures.)

Venture capitalists have not had much to be happy about, either. It wasn’t just IPOs, but acquisitions that came to a screeching halt during the recession. Both of these groups desperately want the IPO window to stay open, and so far it is.”

And concludes,

“In Google’s day it was bulge-bracket investment banks – Morgan Stanley (MS), CSFB (CS), Goldman (GS), Lehman Bros or no one. The economics of the banks (characterized as going “down-market” to even do $500 million IPOs) required bigger deals. Today’s deals, with their much more modest size, are better tailored for the boutique banks – Thomas Weisel Partners, Jeffries, JMP Securities, Piper Jaffray, and the like. These are the banks pounding the streets in Silicon Valley the hardest.

Could it all end badly? Of course, and usually it does when the rush toward IPOs at some point sends half-baked companies into the public markets and they tank. But between now and then we are likely to see a group of very high quality tech companies look to go public – think Greenplum, LinkedIn, Pacific Biosciences and Zynga among many others.

For those investors with the stomach, it might not get much better.”

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A giant investment dilemma is coming into play as of late – the market, Silicon Valley especially, is running short on IPO candidates. The jackpots including Intel, Apple, Netscape, eBay, Yahoo and Google are all history by now. With few candidates, the payoffs look smaller and the real problem shows – where will the money come from for new investments?

Here are a good analysis taken from Silicon Valley.com.

“So how might a Facebook or LinkedIn IPO perform when the time is right? Or what will Skype’s IPO look like, assuming eBay proceeds with plans to spin it out in 2010 as a separate company?

“We’re seeing a rebuilding and stabilization of the IPO market, so that Silicon Valley firms will be able to participate.” said Jeff Grabow of the accounting firm Ernst & Young’s San Jose office, which issued its quarterly U.S. IPO Pipeline report Tuesday.”

It continues…

“The IPO is vital to the valley’s economy, promising a potential jackpot for VCs that compensates for investments that don’t pan out. Not so long ago, the valley seemed to pop out an IPO every few weeks. But since early 2008, the pipeline has been more like a sieve. The venture industry is now pushing for tax breaks and regulatory relief from Washington to revive the market.

Ernst & Young’s report offers a snapshot of the situation. Privately held companies get in the IPO pipeline by filing S-1 forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission that signal their plans to sell stock on public markets. There were 57 companies in the pipeline Dec. 31, but only 44 on March 30.

In the first quarter, 16 companies exited the pipeline — only two made Wall Street debuts. Among the others, 10 registrations had surpassed the one-year expiration for inclusion in the study, which suggests they may just be biding their time in a chilly market. Three registrants withdrew their S-1s, and one postponed. Three companies filed S-1s, including San Francisco-based OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation service.

When OpenTable filed in January, it seemed like wishful thinking in such a dreadful economy. Because SEC rules require “a quiet period” for companies that file for IPO, I couldn’t ask CEO Jeff Jordan why OpenTable was making such a move. How good could the restaurant business be with credit crunched and people pinching pennies?”

Read the full article here.

Other covering the issue: Techmeme, TechSheep, Congoo

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