Term Sheet

The latest on private equity, M&A, deals and movements — from Wall Street to Silicon Valley

For emerging companies, a dual track dilemma

June 11, 2012: 9:07 AM ET

How to make some noise while staying quiet.

FORTUNE -- It's been two months since President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law, and dozens of "emerging companies" already have filed confidential IPO registration papers with the SEC. Some even have emerged from the private vetting process and filed "public" papers (e.g., LegalZoom).

From what I hear, the process has been going smoothly. The SEC has created a secure email system for such issuers, and young, still-private companies get to resolve delicate issues outside of the media's glare.

But the new option also has created a dilemma for companies that aren't yet sure if they'd prefer to go public or be acquired. How do you run a dual process when no one knows that you've put IPO plans in motion?

For the answer, let's look at Fleetmatics, a Boston-based provider of GPS tracking applications for commercial fleets. On May 25, the company issued a brief press release which said the following:

FleetMatics Group Limited today announced that it plans to conduct a registered initial public offering of its common stock. The offering is expected to commence after the SEC completes the review process initiated by FleetMatics' confidential submission on Thursday May 17, 2012 of its draft registration statement.

In other words: "Hey potential acquirers, we're open to talking."

Clever workaround. Should be interesting to see if others follow in Fleetmatics' footsteps.

Sign up for Dan's daily email newsletter on deals and deal-makers: GetTermSheet.com

Join the Conversation
About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

Email a Tip | @danprimack | RSS
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.