The Memorial Day holiday is usually a small speed bump on the IPO Highway, and this year is no exception. After 23 companies went public in May, the month of June opens with just a single deal in a carryover from May. But tiny Internet bubbles can be seen floating on the horizon.
Sabre Industries (NASDAQ:SABR), based in North Wales, Pennsylvania, is a provider of engineered products such as towers and poles for wireless communications and electricity transmission. Founded in 1977, the company has about 900 employees. Sabre Industries reported a net loss of $9.6 million on revenues of $264.3 million for the 12 months ended Jan. 31.
Sabre plans to offer 7 million shares at $12 to $14 each to raise about $91 million.
The IPO, which is expected to be priced during the week of May 30, is slated to trade on the Nasdaq Global Market under the proposed symbol “SABR.” The manager is Stifel Nicolaus Weisel. (Note: The company plans to offer 6.5 million shares and selling shareholders plan to offer 500,000 shares.)
However the IPO news has been focused on the recent past as well as on future deals.
Also on May 24, stories started swirling around the financial media that Zynga Game Network, based in San Francisco, was about to file for an IPO. Zynga, famous for Farmville, a game popular with Facebook fans, believes it is the world’s largest social game developer. By press time, Zynga had not filed an IPO prospectus. Still, tomorrow is another day and another story.
That leaves the Internet social-networking companies of Facebook, Twitter and Groupon waiting in the wings to join in the new-issue parade -- or so the stories go.
The last Internet bubble did not start as dramatically as people would have you believe. Let’s flip back into the history books and take a closer look. “Insanity-dot-com” was born with the September 1998 eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) offering. Some will point to the Netscape 1995 IPO, but that was three years before eBay’s deal and there was no follow through after Netscape’s opening-day moonshot performance.
With the eBay offering, there was follow-through. When eBay went public, the IPO market was entirely different than it was when Netscape did its deal.
Note: On Sept. 8, 1995, Netscape priced its IPO at $28 per share and it closed its opening day at $58. 25 -- up 108 percent from its initial offering price. On Sept. 24, 1998, eBay priced its IPO at $18 per share and it closed its opening day at $47.38 -- up 163.2 percent from its initial offering price.
Sept. 24, 1998, was not an investor-friendly stock market. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed that day at 1,790.70, down 11.1 percent from 2,014.25, its then-all time closing high set on July 20. Nor was it a friendly IPO climate.
Three deals were priced in September 1998, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. That was dramatically lower than 46 IPOs, the average monthly issuance during the year’s first eight months.
Fast forward two months later to mid-November 1998. On Nov. 10, 1998, EarthWeb priced its IPO at $14 per share and saw it close its opening day at $48.39 -- up 247.8 percent from its offering price. And then came Nov. 12, when theglobe.com priced its IPO at $9 per share. The stock opened at $90 and closed at $63.50 -- up 605.6 percent.
“Insanity-dot-com” was off to the races and on to history.
This brings us back to the present and this week’s solo deal.
But there’s hope. June’s second week shows a little life. Can there be a summer run ahead?
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.