April 10th, 2015

More about IPOS and what they aren't


Long backstory about why I went digging around today -- what's the right size for a company, does it make more sense for a brilliant idea to build a new company around itself or to be folded into an existing company with its employees and bureaucratic structure. Who wins, who loses, what do establishes businesses that have grown about as big as they can do in their niche do with additional money: how do you pick a neighboring business to move into, how do you succeed, how do you avoid/manage antitrust regulation, etc.

Short form: the lack of IPOs continues to draw my attention.

The Bloomberg article has footnotes! I was particularly interested whether the shareholder number aspect of the JOBS act of 2012 had taken effect immediately or whether it was on hold along with all the rest of the enabling rules (Note to anyone who might be interested: we need to come up with a way to make government agencies actually implement rules in the time frame the statute specifies. Because this is getting ridiculous.).

The argument is cogent: IPOs are not about companies getting money to grow any more. They are about cashing out the venture rounds. Basically true. I have no idea whether this will continue to be true as we progress through this business cycle, or that will change again -- that's actually the question I'm trying to answer now.