Public investors lasso Square to tame the unicorns

November 19, 2015

Jack Dorsey’s payments firm has priced below its indicated range and at less than half the value of its last funding round. A two-timing CEO, rising competition and losses provided ammunition for old-school mutual fund managers demanding big discounts to lofty private valuations.

Biotech firm’s stock buyback emits bad bouquet

November 12, 2015

NantKwest wants to snap up a large chunk of stock at a big discount to its July IPO. Yet the biotech controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong needs the money as it’s likely to burn cash for years. A buyback would, though, prop up the price ahead of an expiring lockup for executives.

Amundi’s so-so listing sums up Europe’s IPO market

November 12, 2015

Shares in the Credit Agricole-owned asset manager opened just above the issue price, at the lower end of its original range. Anything less would have been a failure for the 15 banks on the deal. The valuation reflects concerns about the business – and new stocks in general.

ABN Amro IPO merits discount for ugly structure

November 10, 2015

The Dutch state is hawking up to 23 pct of its erstwhile problem child, valuing the bank at up to 18.8 bln euros. The price range seems attractive relative to listed peers. But a markdown is warranted given an anti-takeover provision that could rescind investors’ voting rights.

Japan Post’s red-letter day delivers a value gap

November 4, 2015

Shares in the Japanese postal operator and its finance arms soared on their stock-market debuts. Low valuations, high yields and familiarity helped the $12 bln triple IPO to fly. Yet the share moves also reveal just how lukewarm investors are about the core postal business.

Italy regains market cred with Poste Italiane IPO

October 23, 2015

The 3.4 bln euro sale of shares in the post office was oversubscribed – even though the company remains mainly government-owned and it does little to cut Italy’s debt. Still, the country now looks open for business and has atoned for an earlier botched privatisation of Fincantieri.

Ferrari parks its $9.8 bln IPO in hybrid spot

October 21, 2015

Fiat Chrysler priced its luxury unit at the top of the range and got a boost in early trading. That’s a better performance than most recent public offerings. But Ferrari doesn’t merit the Prada-like value boss Sergio Marchionne wanted. For now, it’s driving in the middle lane.

Yield and brand fuel Japan Post IPO successes

October 20, 2015

The $12 bln deal is going well, with banking and insurance arms pricing at the top of their ranges. That says more about big dividends, low valuations and name recognition than Japan Post’s actual prospects – or the chances of a new era of widespread domestic equity ownership.

Square float is missing three sides

October 15, 2015

The U.S. payments upstart’s IPO narrative is based on growth, but it’s missing three other critical storylines. It’s losing money. Governance is compromised, with dual-class stock and a part-time CEO in Jack Dorsey. And the company’s allies may have incentives to become rivals.

Hong Kong IPOs leaning too heavily on cornerstones

October 15, 2015

The practice of pre-selling shares to supportive investors is out of control. Distressed debt manager Huarong, for example, has pledged two-thirds of its $2.5 bln offering to big Chinese buyers. The cosy arrangement distorts pricing and undermines the concept of public markets.