Kayak and PAWN Soar on IPO Debuts: Bubble Conitnues

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Kayak and PAWN Soar on IPO Debuts: Bubble ConitnuesThe vote appeared to be 2:1 in favour of whether the IPO market had woken out of a self-induced slumber after the Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) debacle. Out of three IPOs, two had strong debuts on Friday, while one decided to drop out.

Kayak Software (KYAK) and Palo Alto Networks (PANW) both opened in excess of 25 percent compared to their IPO price on the Nasdaq and NYSE respectively. On the other hand Fender (FNDR) withdrew its IPO due to “current market conditions.” However, taken along with Five Below’s strong IPO debut Thursday, which closed the first day with a gain of 56 percent, it may seem that happy days are here again for IPOs.

Travel website Kayak finally made it to the hustings after a long delay. It priced its shares at $26, above its range of $22 – $25. The share was probably helped in no small measure by the support of Jake Fuller, analyst at Lazard Capital Markets who said the price of $26 represented a deep discount to a comparable company TripAdvisor, and was possibly clairvoyant when he said the share might likely be valued at around the $31 – $32 range.  He based his opinion on the fact that Kayak was an “appealing growth story” and a reputed leader in travel search.  At the time of writing the share is trading at $32.67, a premium of 25.77 percent over its issue price. The share reached a high of $34.69. The company sold 3.5 million shares in the IPO.

At $42, Palo Alto Networks also priced its shares higher than the range of $34-$37. Based out of Silicon Valley, the firm designs products for network security. The strong demand for its shares led the company to reassess the IPO price, and this was also reflected in its opening today. At the time of writing, the share is trading at $55.42, a premium of almost 32 percent over the issue price. The offer comprised 6.2 million shares of which 1.5 million came from selling shareholders. The issue was managed by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C).

In sharp contrast to the above success stories, guitar and musical instrument maker Fender chose to withdraw its issue. Its CEO Larry Thomas said: “Current market conditions and concerns about economic conditions in Europe do not support completing an initial public offering at what we believe to be an appropriate valuation at this time.”

There appears to be a lesson here. Investors have clearly voted for issues that are technological and internet oriented rather than a traditional product that people buy, use and enjoy. In some ways, this is a continuation of the social media bubble that made up Facebook, Linkedin Corporation (NYSE:LNKD) and others. We already know that investors have burnt their fingers on Facebook. Are they following the same path again?

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