Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The Associated Press
NEW YORK - Soccer club Manchester United's flat debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday ended a rocky but busy week for initial public offerings.
Children gather to watch Manchester United performers outside the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. The soccer club is the best-known sports team in the world, but its finances are less sterling: It is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.
The Associated Press
On Tuesday, Outback Steakhouse's parent company priced its IPO below expectations, and the owner of the Carl's Jr. fast-food chain postponed its planned stock offering Thursday night, blaming market conditions. It added up to an anticlimactic ending to the busiest week for major IPOs since Facebook's problem-plagued debut in May.
Investor reaction to the debuts show that they are pushing back on pricing and staying cautious if the company's finances are questionable. But if the price is right and the company is solid, investors are willing to buy.
There have been 22 initial public offerings since the last week in June. Of those, 17 are trading above their IPO price.
"The greed factor is back," said Francis Gaskins, president and editor of IPODesktop.com. But investors are being cautious about which companies to buy into, he said. "When you have big leveraged buyouts with a big brand, they have to show bottom-line profit," to succeed.
If they don't, investors won't bite, as Manchester United found on Friday. Its shares were flat at $14 in midday trading, the level they were priced at by the underwriters late Thursday. The stock had predicted the IPO to price between $16 and $20.
The sports team is the best known in the world, but its finances are less sterling: It is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and expects to report a loss for the year ended June 30, excluding a tax credit, with revenue down 3 percent to 5 percent.
Since Facebook's debut in May, investors are increasingly demanding lower stock prices, as well. Ten of the last 11 IPOS have priced below their expected range, said Nick Einhorn, an analyst at Renaissance Capital.
"In the last few weeks, investors kind of in general have been somewhat cautious," he said. "There's price sensitivity."
Bloomin' Brands, parent of Outback Steakhouse priced its IPO at $11 per share, below the $13 to $15 per share expected. Shares closed at $12.86 on Friday.