Rosetta Stone IPO shows it pays to leave ‘em wanting more

What a difference a day makes.

A day after college operator Bridgepoint Education Inc had to settle for a shrunken IPO, language instruction company Rosetta Stone actually priced its $112.5 million IPO above its estimate price on Wednesday, and has followed that up by rising 42 percent in its inaugural trading day Thursday. But that “pop” might be a deliberate marketing decision, rather than a major mispricing of the deal.

Much of Rosetta’s success may have had to with the small size of float– 6.25 million shares– which led analyst Ben Holmes of to say the IPO had “built it in demand.”

And any company hopes to price its deal to get a first day “pop” to reward investors for their risk-taking. IPO Boutique‘s Scott Sweet said that Rosetta Stone’s enormous first day pop — if it holds, it will be the largest since Intrepid Potash‘s 58 percent starting jump nearly a year ago — will ingratiate investors and make raising additional money through a follow on easier. (Rosetta Stone CEO Tom Adams told Reuters on Thursday the company had no plans now to raise more money.)

But typically in a down market, bankers say a deal should be priced ideally to pop by 20 percent, so Rosetta Stone’s 42 percent pop might be overdoing it by leaving so much money “on the table.” Then again maybe not.

Adams told Reuters that the IPO was a major part of Rosetta Stone’s efforts to build its brand, and get the prestige of a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, as it works to build its business abroad. In an unusual move, the company used its IPO to tie in a promotion featuring a free seven day trial for the first 25,000 people to sign up.

Après le Changyou IPO, le déluge?

umbrella2Well maybe not yet, but it was a good week for IPOs, with hopeful signs the market is beginning to awaken from its long slumber.

Thursday’s IPO by Chinese video games maker had a first day “pop” of 25 percent, the strongest debut in a year, making it the third IPO in a row, after Mead Johnson in February and Grand Canyon in November, to do well.

Two more companies, language instruction provider Rosetta Stone and Bridgepoint Education, apparently buoyed by all the advance buzz around Changyou, scheduled their IPOs for pricing in two weeks.

IPO drought persists in Q1, no rain in sight

desertWith just a few days left, the first quarter of 2009 has been as miserable for the U.S. IPO market as the last few quarters were.

The first three months of the year saw one solitary IPO- a grand slam to be sure, an $828 million (including over-allotments) deal by kids food maker Mead Johnson Nutrition. In contrast, the first quarter of 2008, when IPO flow was already starting to fall off a cliff, had 10 deals yield a total of $20.6 billion.

It was the second quarter in a row to see only one deal, the first time such a six-month drought has happened this decade.

from MediaFile:

Cisco flipped for Pure Digital, but did VCs flip out?

Cisco's $590 million all-stock purchase of Flip video camera maker Pure Digital last week may sound like a nice price for the venture capital-backed company, especially given the non-existent exit market right now.

But Venture Capital Journal editor Larry Aragon writes in a PEHub blog post that the $590 million number doesn't sound that meaty when you calculate the return on investment for Pure Digital's venture capital backers. And that's especially true because some top-notch VC firms like Benchmark Capital and Sequoia Capital have invested in Pure Digital. (Venture Capital Journal and PEHub are part of Thomson Reuters.)

Aragon calculates that if Pure Digital's VC investors put in about $95 million, and assuming that they own about half the company (since it's a stock deal), "that's a return of just over 3x their money."