Did Facebook chill the IPO market?May 25, 2012: 11:44 AM ET
FORTUNE -- I know, I know. It's only been a week since Facebook (FB) went public, and even less time since it somehow became TheGlobe.com, WorldCom and CopRock, all rolled into one.
But in the proceeding days, we haven't seen any other companies manage to price IPOs. Actually, to be more exact, we've seen four companies either withdraw or indefinitely postpone expected offerings.
One of them was Corsair Components, a Fremont, Calif.-based maker of gaming hardware for personal computers. Obviously this isn't the next Facebook, but it's a seemingly-solid business with $19 million in 2011 profit on around $455 million in revenue. Moreover, it was only looking to raise around $86 million.
But it postponed. As did TRIA Beauty, a Dublin, Calif.-based maker of at-home aesthetic treatment devices. And then there were formal withdrawals from China Auto Rental, the largest car rental company in China, and optical components manufacturer CyOptics.
Maybe Facebook wasn't to blame. Perhaps investors looked at each of these companies independently, and determined there was too much risk and too little reward. Or maybe Greece was the real culprit, having spooked the broader public equities markets (remember, we saw a spate of IPO postponements/withdrawals during the debt ceiling debacle last August).
But I really do wonder if Facebook took some bloom off the general IPO rose, for both institutional and retail investors. After all, if Facebook doesn't provide a pop, what chance does Corsair or TRIA Beauty offer? And do the underwriter brokers know something the rest of us don't?
Just floating it out there as a theory to watch.
Likewise, there is a chance that Facebook's saga could dissuade certain entrepreneurs from trying to take their companies public in the first place. Remember, it wasn't too long ago that IPOs were viewed as "uncool" by entrepreneurs who didn't want to deal with the headaches of running a public company. They'd rather just sell to Google (GOOG) or Cisco (CSCO) and then move on to the next thing.
That thinking largely changed with LinkedIn's (LNKD) IPO success early last summer, which was followed by a series of high-profile IPOs that culminated with Facebook. But maybe Zuckerberg has pulled a reverse Hoffman, reminding entrepreneurs why M&A exits became trendy in the first place.
Again, just ruminating out loud...
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