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 (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.