Just ahead of the first day of spring, this week's IPO Express rolls into the Wall Street Station with seven deals on board. One is from this year's sizzling sector, while another is from a group that has fallen from grace.
There's more here than meets the eye. The IPO market has been flying this year. The 2012 traffic shows an average aftermarket gain of 32 percent, as of Friday's close.
Next week's calendar has another seven IPOs. Two more have filed proposed pricing terms, but have not announced pricing dates, and 30 companies have filed updated amendments over the last two weeks. In time, their names should start appearing on the IPO calendar.
Clouds on Fire
Cloud-computer companies make up the sector that has lit a fire under this year's IPO market. For the year to date, six cloud deals have made their debuts. They scored an average gain of 62 percent.
Last's week sizzler was Demandware (NYSE:DWRE), a cloud-computer company, closing on Friday, March 16, UP 68.8 percent from its initial offering price.
Guidewire Software (NYSE:GWRE), another cloud-computer company that went public on Jan. 25, closed on Friday, March 16, UP a whopping 148.5 percent from its initial offering price.
Now for a drum roll and some fortissimo in our IPO spring prelude: Here comes another cloud-computing company.
ExactTarget plans to price 8.5 million shares at $15 to $17 each on Wednesday evening. The IPO is expected to start trading on Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange under the proposed symbol "ET." (Guess fans of Steven Spielberg's 1982 blockbuster movie won't have trouble remembering that ticker.)
Based in Indianapolis, ExactTarget is a global provider of cross-channel interactive marketing SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions to clients ranging from Microsoft and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. to Angie's List, Groupon, Tommy Hilfiger and Zappos.com. Translation: ExactTarget helps its clients connect with their customers through email, social media, mobile, text messaging and websites.
One of ExactTarget's solutions is its open and flexible cloud-based platform. ExactTarget says its clients include over 4,700 organizations ranging from large enterprises to small businesses in numerous industries, including retail and e-commerce, media and entertainment, travel and hospitality, financial services and insurance, technology, daily-deal and flash-sale and marketing service providers. ExactTarget was formed in 2000. It has about 1,133 employees.
The company plans to offer all the shares in the underwriting. It expects to have about 64.5 million shares outstanding after the offering.
China's VIP Shoppers
Moving on into this week's calendar, we come to a sector that has been out of favor since May 2011 - Chinese IPOs being offered in the U.S. capital markets.
After pricing five Chinese IPOs last May, the sector ran into problems such as allegations of fraud and accounting irregularities. That usually cools anything off. It did.
Fast forward to the present. All five of those IPOs are selling well below their initial offering prices and their average loss is 39.3 percent from their initial offering prices. Now let's look at this week's Chinese IPO.
Vipshop Holdings Ltd. plans to price 11.2 million American Depositary Shares (ADS) at $8.50 to $10.50 each on Thursday evening. The IPO is expected to start trading Friday morning on the New York Stock Exchange under the proposed symbol "VIPS." Each ADS is equal to two ordinary shares.
Based in Guangzhou, China, Vipshop is an online discount retailer offering high-quality brands, including out-of-season merchandise, to consumers in China through flash sales on its Website. Target audience: China's affluent and growing middle class. Vipshop reported it has 12.1 million registered members and over 1.7 million cumulative customers. Vipshop claims to have promoted and sold products for over 1,900 domestic and international brands. Vipshop was formed in 2008. It has about 2,934 employees.
The company plans to offer all the shares in the underwriting. It expects to have about 97.5 million ordinary shares outstanding after the offering.
(Note: As of Dec. 31, 2011, Vipshop had accumulated losses of $166.6 million.)
An Upstart Money Machine
BATS Global Markets is also expected to draw attention from this week's calendar. Based in the Kansas City suburb of Lenexa, Kansas, the company believes it is the third- largest exchange operator in the United States - ranking behind only the NYSE Euronext and the Nasdaq OMX Group. BATS Global Markets also believes it is the second-largest pan-European multilateral trading facility. BATS was formed in 2005. It has about 170 employees.
BATS plans to price 6.3 million shares at $16 to $18 each on Thursday evening. The IPO is expected to start trading Friday morning on the BATS Exchange under the proposed symbol "BATS." (Those letters, BATS, form an acronym for "better alternative trading systems.")
Selling shareholders plan to offer all 6.3 million shares in the underwriting. After the offering, the company expects to have about 34.1 million Class A shares outstanding and about 13.3 million Class B shares outstanding.
Tuesday marks the first day of spring, the season when umbrellas, wedding invitations and graduation ceremonies come into play. Perhaps it's not so unusual that this week's IPO calendar touches on clouds, shopping and money.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.