The IPO Buzz: The Twitterati and the IPO Hustle

On Sept. 12, Twitter released the following statement: “We’ve confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale.” That said, it was back to work for the Twitter people. For the financial press and everyone else, it was back to speculating when the IPO will come to market.
These days, companies don’t have to announce their IPO plans when they file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That’s why is it called “confidential.” Once all the preliminary work is completed, the “official” S-1 filing appears on the SEC’s website. Under the JOBS Act, an IPO can “officially” be filed, priced and out the door in three weeks.
In Twitter’s case, all the world can do now is to sit back and watch the SEC’s filings website. When the Twitter S-1 is announced from the SEC’s filing window, then the circus begins.
Let’s take a look at this week’s IPO calendar. There are nine new faces at the starting gate and they expect to raise over $1.3 billion. This time two weeks ago, on Sept. 3, the IPO calendar for the week of Sept. 16 was clean and green – nothing. Now it’s busy. That’s the way things work under the JOBS Act of 2012.
Drugs, Social Media and Cyber-Security
Among those offerings, there are several on somebody’s “most wanted” list. The consensus favorites are: Acceleron Pharma (XLRN – proposed) and Rocket Fuel (FUEL – proposed).
Acceleron Pharma is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based clinical- stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel protein therapeutics for cancer, including ovarian cancer, as well as chronic kidney disease, certain types of anemia and some rare diseases. Its research focuses on the biology of the Transforming Growth Factor-Beta protein superfamily, a large and diverse group of molecules that are key regulators in the growth and repair of tissues throughout the human body. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2013, Acceleron reported net income of $14.7 million on collaboration revenues of $41.4 million. Founded in 2003, the company has about 79 employees.

Underwriters plan to offer 4.65 million shares of Acceleron Pharma at $13 to $15 each to raise about $65.0 million. The IPO is expected to be priced Wednesday evening and trade Thursday morning on the NASDAQ Global Market. The joint-lead managers are: Citigroup and Leerink Swann. The co-managers are: Piper Jaffray and JMP Securities.
(Note from the cover of its prospectus: “Our collaboration partner, Celgene Corporation, has agreed to purchase $10.0 million of our common stock in a separate private placement concurrent with the completion of this offering at a price per share equal to the initial public offering price. The sale of such shares will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.”)
Rocket Fuel is a Redwood City, California-based provider of artificial intelligence advertising solutions that transform digital media buys into self-optimizing engines that learn and adapt in real time — all the time — to exceed advertising goals from awareness to sales. Rocket Fuel believes over 500 of the world’s leading brands rely on it to power their display, mobile, video, and social-media initiatives. For the three-month period ended June 30, 2013, Rocket Fuel reported a net loss of $3.8 million on revenues of $54.4 million, compared with a net loss of $860,000 on revenues of $23 million for the same period  a year ago. Founded in 2008, the company has about 465 employees.
Underwriters plan to offer 4 million shares of Rocket Fuel at $24 to $27 each to raise about $102 million. The IPO is expected to be priced Thursday evening and trade Friday morning on the NASDAQ Global Market. The joint-lead managers are: Credit Suisse and Citigroup. The co-managers are: Needham, Oppenheimer, Piper Jaffray, BMO Capital Markets and LUMA Securities.
Other consensus favorites from this week’s calendar are:
Benefitfocus (BNFT- proposed) is a Charleston, South Carolina-based provider of cloud-based benefits software solutions for consumers, employers, insurance carriers and brokers. Bankers plan to offer 4.5 million shares at $21.50 to $24.50 each on Tuesday evening, Sept. 17, to trade Wednesday, Sept. 18, on the NASDAQ Stock Market.
FireEye (FEYE – proposed) is a Milpitas, California-based provider of a virtual machine-based security platform that offers real-time protection to enterprises and governments worldwide against the next generation of cyber-attacks. Bankers plan to offer 14 million shares at $12 to $14 each on Thursday evening, Sept. 19, to trade Friday, Sept. 20, on the NASDAQ Stock Market.
Five Prime Therapeutics (FPRX – proposed) is a South San Francisco-based clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing novel protein therapeutics to treat cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Bankers plan to offer 4 million shares at $12 to $14 each on Tuesday evening, Sept. 17, to trade Wednesday, Sept. 18, on the NASDAQ Stock Market.
As we have seen many times in today’s IPO market, the calendar can fill up quickly. This time last week, the IPO calendar for the week of Sept. 16 had six deals. This week has nine IPOs with various pricing dates.
Stay tuned.
Disclosure: Neither the author nor anyone else on the staff has a position in any stocks mentioned, nor do we trade or invest in IPOs. The author and staff do not issue advice, recommendations or opinions.