Facebook Sucks The Air Out Of The IPO Market

| About: Facebook (FB)

By Brenon Daly

All the breathless coverage of Facebook's kickoff of its IPO roadshow bordered on the ridiculous, even for Wall Street. The reports flew as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) made its way along the well-trod path to becoming a public company, a journey that thousands of other companies have already made. But each step (even the most inconsequential) apparently merited coverage: Which door did CEO Mark Zuckerberg use to get into the meeting with potential investors? Did he wear his trademark hoodie as he met the button-down types?

Given this, it's pretty clear that Facebook hasn't left any room on the IPO stage for any other would-be debutant. That was underscored by the fact that - according to our understanding - another tech company was originally thinking about making the rounds to buyside institutions this week. Word was that Eloqua was loosely targeting mid-May for its roadshow, but understandably stepped back as the Facebook carnival rolled into town.

Whenever Eloqua does get a chance to tell its story to Wall Street, however, we think it'll get a pretty good hearing from investors. The on-demand marketing automation vendor is growing about 40% annually (the rate in Q1 actually came in above that level, outstripping full-year 2011) and is likely to finish this year at roughly $100m in sales. It's right on the cusp of profitability, too. Beyond that, Eloqua has a highly valued rival that recently made its debut: ExactTarget, which currently garners a market value of $1.6bn.

So it's probably a prudent move by Eloqua and its underwriters not to try to compete with all the noise and flash from the once-in-a-generation offering from Facebook. After all, Wall Street isn't known for its patience, much less a long attention span. Once Facebook does get listed, many investors will be off looking for the next shiny object.