Earlier this week, Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) revealed plans to sell 15 million shares tonight at a value of about $96.2 million (according to last night’s closing price). While this is the fifth offering since the beginning of last year, The Wall Street Journal notes that this one will really test how confident investors are in the fuel cell provider. Over the last year or so, shares of Plug Power have risen by about 12-fold.
Plug Power picks Morgan Stanley, Barclays
The Wall Street Journal’s Matt Jarzemsky notes that Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) has hired Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) to head up the offering this time around. That’s notable for a couple of reasons. For one, Plug Power demoted its past banker Cowen & Co. to a passive role for the offering. Cowen’s analyst is just one of only two Wall Street analysts who follow Plug Power.
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On the other hand, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) are two of the top underwriters in the U.S. In fact, they’re both among the top ten according to U.S. market share when it comes to setting up stock sales in the U.S. Matthew Sperling of Rothschild reportedly said Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) may be thinking about trying to get its shares “into the hands of a broader and more blue-chip investor base,” which he says is the reason bost companies bring their offerings to Morgan Stanley and Barclays.
Plug Power falls under tech bubble
Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG)’s initial public offering was in 1999 and led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), which hasn’t underwritten any of the company’s other offerings. Unfortunately for Plug Power though, its shares fell victim to the tech bubble in 2000. The company’s IPO price was $15, and it soared to more than $156 in January 2000. That’s about $1,565 today after accounting for the ten to one reverse stock split Plug Power did in 2011.
Then over the last few years, the company’s stock declined all the way down to penny stock status, falling as far as 13 cents in February 2013. Late last year though, Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) started seeing some significant growth, in bookings for its GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell systems. Investors started to sit up and take notice.
In addition to the soaring share price, volume also climbed significantly. The company’s 30-day average volume is the third highest in the S&P 500 after only Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). Short interest is also high, as some investors remain skeptical on the company. Approximately 9% of Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG)’s outstanding shares are sold short.