Audience Tries To Make IPO Noise Before Facebook Debut

| About: Audience, Inc (ADNC)

Although Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) road show may have delayed some companies’ IPO itineraries, audio processing vendor Audience (NASDAQ:ADNC) is continuing with plans to begin trading on the Nasdaq on May 10. Facebook has dominated recent IPO chatter (a quick Google search for ‘Facebook IPO’ generates more than 312 million results, versus just five million for ‘Audience IPO’), but Audience’s market opportunity should help the company create some noise of its own.

Audience designs digital signal processors and associated algorithms that help separate human voice from background noise, thereby helping to improve voice quality on mobile phones. The technology also helps improve the responsiveness of speech-recognition software. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), for example, uses Audience’s chip in the iPhone 4S.

So far, the market has been receptive. The patient firm, which was founded in 2000 but didn’t start pushing product until 2008, has grown revenue fifteenfold over the past few years, from $6m in 2009 to $97m in 2011. That growth story should pay off in spades for its selling shareholders, notably NEA, Tallwood Venture Capital and Vulcan Capital, which collectively own 87% of the company (combined, they poured $75m into the firm).

Audience plans to raise $80m by offering 5.3 million shares in the range of $14-16 per share. Assuming it prices at the midpoint, Audience will garner a market cap of just under $300m, or three times trailing sales. That valuation is in the ballpark of where rival Maxim Integrated Products currently trades in the public markets. J.P. Morgan (NYSE:JPM), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) and Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) are leading Audience’s IPO. This is likely to be the last tech IPO before Facebook’s debut.

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