This week saw two tech IPOs and news of one more in the offing, Yelp’s.
If you’re one of those employees at a company that’s gone public or is preparing to go public, you may end up with options that are suddenly worth a lot of money, and facing questions about whether to exercise your options and then how much of the company’s stock to sell.
Remember that keeping too much of your portfolio in one company’s stock – even your own company’s stock – is one of the investing practices academic researchers have consistently demonstrated is a mistake. (See The 9 Stupid Things Investors Do).
In what’s known as familiarity bias, people tend to invest in what they know, favoring their own country, region, state and company, despite evidence that diversified portfolios lower the risk in a portfolio.
Chipmaker InvenSense (NYSE: INVN) raised more than $75 million in its debut on Wednesday. Shares priced at $7.50 jumped 19%, and yesterday, they were trading near $9 a share.
CEO Steven Nasiri told Investor’s Business Daily that the company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., wasn’t in desperate need of capital, but wanted to give employees some value for their options.
“All our customers are Fortune 500 companies, and many of our competitors are Fortune 500 companies,” he said. “We wanted to change our tag line from ‘successful startup’ to ‘successful IPO.'”
Columbus, Ohio-based Angie’s List (NASDAQ: ANGI), priced its offering of nearly 8.8 million shares at $13 each, the top of its range. Shares rose 33% to more than $17 a share in early trading and were at about $16 Friday morning.
Angie’s List, a review website for local contractors and home and auto services, is sometimes dismissed as more old economy than new economy, but it is part of the wave of tech IPOs gaining momentum after Groupon’s recent launch. (See Should You Hold On To Groupon Stock?)
Meanwhile, Yelp filed its IPO plans with the SEC Thursday afternoon, saying it would raise $100 million in an offering.
CNN noted some of the dangers the company faces:
Yelp’s main revenue stream is selling advertising to local and national businesses. It also runs daily deals, but in August Yelp cut half its sales staff in that unit.
Yelp’s filing revealed that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which is developing its own Yelp-like offerings, is a key traffic source — which puts Yelp in a precarious position. At a Senate hearing earlier this year on Google, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman testified about Yelp’s growing rivalry with the search Goliath.
“[Google] has promoted its own competing products, including Google’s local products, in its search results,” Yelp wrote in its filing. “Given the large volume of traffic to our website and the importance of the placement and display of results of a user’s search, similar actions in the future could have a substantial negative effect on our business and results of operations.
Yelp, based in San Francisco, has not yet said which exchange its stock will trade on or how many shares it plans to sell.
Zynga was reportedly eyeing an IPO date after Thanksgiving. Venture Beat was the first to raise the question about whether last week’s news about the company’s attempts to force some employees to give back stock options will hamper the company’s IPO.
(Here’s a series of Quora comments in answer to the question of whether Zynga’s move was ethical).