Square’s down round offers cautionary unicorn tale

November 6, 2015

Jack Dorsey’s payments firm may go public for $3.5 bln, or 41 pct below its last private valuation. Rising competition, losing Starbucks’ business and deflating markets are only partly to blame. It’s a sign to well-funded upstarts that good ideas don’t always guarantee success.

Clogged IPO exit ramp boxes in buyout barons

October 15, 2015

Blackstone and peers have had a good run taking heavily indebted companies public again. Offerings for Albertsons and Neiman Marcus have been delayed. First Data struggled. Petco and Univision may, too. It bodes poorly for private equity when selling becomes as tough as buying.

Silicon Valley rule of thumb points right way

By Guest Contributor
August 31, 2015

In a land that fetishizes revenue growth over profitability, there’s a new sanity check for software firms to see if the two rates add up to at least 40 pct. A Breakingviews analysis suggests it can be a useful guideline. Investors should just be wary of extrapolating too much.

SoulCycle IPO endorphins inhibit pain potential

By Guest Contributor
July 31, 2015

The indoor cycling chain is inviting investors to join its “tribe” of athletes, renegades and rockstars. The company is profitable and sales accelerated by more than 50 pct in the first quarter to $35 mln. But management, growth plans and faddishness are weak points in the spin.

Shake Shack IPO disappoints in taste test

December 30, 2014

Celebrity restaurateur Danny Meyer’s global chain of burger joints is serving up some of the uncommon fixings found in new tech stocks. Two classes of shares and creative financial metrics are unappetizing. At least the bottom line offers a sweet refreshment to wash it all down.

Goldman updates IPOs for the Candy Crush era

December 12, 2014

CEOs of firms heading for public markets are hooked on the bank’s app, which enables them to track results of roadshow book-building in real time. With Apple and IBM coding mobile software for big companies, the smartphone economy is swiftly moving from living room to boardroom.

Uber flips the bird at critics with convertible

December 5, 2014

The taxi app’s valuation soared to $40 bln in its latest funding round. But a plan to issue securities that convert to stock at a discount to an IPO shows how firmly Travis Kalanick remains in the driver’s seat. Uber can raise money at a potentially massive premium.

BlackRock is right: European IPOs need more work

August 8, 2014

The giant investor is griping again about new issues. In structure and deal volume, the market is far healthier than when BlackRock spoke out in 2011. Performance is OK, barring a few duds. But there are still too many banks per deal and buyers are still rushed into decisions.

UK spoils Europe’s $29 bln IPO boom

June 9, 2014

Is buying new issues worth it? Across Europe, yes. This year’s top IPOs have returned an index-beating 14 pct. But while London has raised the most cash, its flotation frenzy has dented the overall performance of the region’s new share sales. No wonder investors have grown picky.

WH Group flop shows pitfalls of crowded IPOs

April 30, 2014

The Chinese pork producer hired a record 29 banks but still failed to sell its $1.3 bln listing to investors. That undermines the received wisdom that more advisers mean less risk for issuers. For banks, it’s a reminder they can share embarrassment as well as league table credit.