If you see IFM Investments Limited (NYSE: CTC – proposed) and FriendFinder Networks (NYSE: FFN – proposed) on the calendar or in the news, you have found the companies fronting for Century 21 and Penthouse.
Dreams of a Red Picket Fence
IFM Investments is the exclusive franchisor in China for the CENTURY 21® brand. Based in Beijing, the company is a real estate services provider. It believes it has the largest network of real estate sales offices in China, where red is the color of joy. (Red is the bride’s traditional color for her cheongsam.)
Since the mid-2000s, three Chinese real estate companies have gone public in the U.S. capital markets, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. By 2010, none has turned out to be a barn burner. Consider the following:
- E-House (NYSE: EJ) priced its IPO on Aug. 7, 2007, at $13.80 per share. The stock sold as high as $36.45 on Oct. 31, 2007; that’s the good news. It sold as low as $4 on Nov. 20, 2008; obviously, that’s the bad news. On Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, the stock closed at $16.01, UP 28.1 percent from its initial offering price.
- Xinyuan Real Estate Company (NYSE: XIN) priced its IPO on Dec. 12, 2007, at $14 per share. The stock sold as high as $18 -– that’s OK — on its first day of trading; it sold as low as $1.54 on Oct. 8, 2008 -– that’s bad, real bad — and closed on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, at $4.11, DOWN 70.6 percent from its initial offering price.
- China Real Estate Information (NASDAQ: CRIC) priced its IPO on Oct. 14, 2009, at $12 per share. The stock sold as high as $17.15 on Oct. 7, 2009 — that’s OK –- then sold as low as $8.80 on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, -– ugh — and closed at $8.90, DOWN 25.8 percent from its initial offering price.
One thing to remember, though: Many stocks have sold at bankruptcy levels over the last year or two.
IFM Investments expects to price 16.7 million shares at $8.75 to $10.75 each on Thursday evening, Jan. 28, to trade on Friday, Jan. 29.
FriendFinder Network derives its revenues from subscription and paid-usage adult-oriented products and services from such names as Penthouse, HotBox.com and others.
Spice may be nice, as the saying goes. But investors are usually more inclined to say, “Show us the money.” FriendFinder has accumulated a deficit of $173.6 million since its inception in 1993, according to its prospectus.
FriendFinder expects to price 20 million shares at $10 to $12 each on Wednesday evening, Jan. 27, to trade on Thursday, Jan. 28.
After that, the exotic nature of this week’s calendar cools off.
Disclosure: Neither the author nor anyone else on the IPOScoop.com staff has a position in any stocks mentioned, nor do they trade or invest in IPOs. The author and IPOScoop.com staff do not issue advice, recommendations and opinions.