By Alex Williams
Jive Software (JIVE) is hovering below its post-IPO low after an investment bank lowered its rating on the company, citing research that shows enterprise companies are taking a cautious view of the private social networks that we see from Salesforce.com, Yammer and a host of other competitors.
BMO Capital Markets said the market potential for social business software is large, and they believe Jive has the best product, but there is a cold reality that market enthusiasm is waning to some degree. Here’s what they said in a statement today:
However, our checks this week suggest that the market has moved past the initial hype and early adopter phase, that the next round of corporate buyers are taking a more sober look at the ROI from social platforms, and that the likelihood of upside to the Street’s billings growth estimates for Jive in 2H12 is lower. If we’re right that the tipping point is at least a few more quarters out, we conclude that Jive shares are more likely to tread water at the mid- teens level than to rally sharply back into the $20-$25 range.
Jive’s stock price is hovering around $13 per share -- its lowest prices since its IPO last year. At the time, Leena Rao wrote that on the eve of its initial trading, the company priced its IPO at $12 per share, giving Jive a $600 million-plus valuation. Jive originally set the range between $8 and $10 per share. On that December day, it opened at $15.12 per share, up 27 percent from its pricing.
This makes for some interesting market dynamics. It raises questions about a host of vendor offerings.
I wish Jive the best of success, but a skeptical market is a healthy thing. The market for social enterprise technologies will grow, but we need better ways to make it part of our work, not some separate silo for where you do your work.