It was March Madness on the stock market yesterday, with several successful public offerings pointing to an upcoming blockbuster debut by social networking phenom Facebook, which is now pegging its Wall Street entrance for May.
“The market is flying,” said John E. Fitzgibbon Jr., owner and publisher of IPOScoop.com. “They haven’t missed the market.”
Some analysts had wondered whether the eight-year-old Facebook, which aims to raise $5 billion in trading, would have fared better by going public around the time of LinkedIn’s rollicking debut last May.
But based on share prices in secondary trading, Facebook’s estimated value has soared north of $100 billion, a record for any Internet company, according to Pluris Valuation Advisors.
Espen Robak, president of Pluris, said trading on the secondary markets has been between the mid-$30-to-$40 range. Initial public offerings in the past two years have been priced significantly higher than their secondary trading targets, Robak said.
As to why Facebook didn’t go public sooner, Ori Bash, vice president at Pluris, said: “They didn’t even want to go public because they wanted to focus on long-term value, not short-term value.”
Federal regulatory rules force businesses with 500 or more shareholders to disclose a flurry of otherwise confidential information.
“They felt that since they have to do all of that anyhow, why not just formally go public?” Bash said.
Investors have a serious appetite for IPOs lately. CafePress hit the Nasdaq at $21.50 and was trading at just above $20 later in the day. Millennial Media more than doubled in early trading yesterday and organic food purveyor Annie’s surged 89 percent on Wednesday.
Analysts have speculated that investors are showing renewed interest in IPOs in order to put themselves in a good position with underwriters to get a piece of the Facebook pie.
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