Sometimes, corporate leaders tell us that they are reluctant to meet with hedge funds. Such apprehension is fueled in many cases by concern that hedge funds may be looking into their company for the sole purpose of shorting their stock.
While we understand a preference to meet with long-only funds, we recommend that companies maintain a consistent dialogue with hedge funds.
I’ve seen pretty much everything during my career on Wall Street regarding investor relations. But there’s one thing I’ve never seen, and neither has anyone I know – a company that hasn’t run into unforeseen challenges, delays, or just bad news. Even the best-run companies have hiccups from time to time, whether it’s a missed quarter, bad clinical results, unexpected costs, or something else.
Providing investors with guidance is a key component of any IR program. It is a company’s main avenue to set expectations. Management credibility, an important factor in a company’s valuation, is significantly driven by delivering on these expectations.
When providing guidance, we recommend that you keep these important themes in mind:
Recently we assisted a client that was announcing an important corporate update (in this case clinical data) and vital context regarding future events. We decided the material was significant enough to warrant being presented in person, so that ruled out the option of just hosting a conference call.
The next decision was how to proceed. Many companies host Analyst Days, a half- or full-day presentation space in New York (typically). While Analyst Days are great, we had developed three key message points with the company, and these were crucial. Our definition of success was that these messages be clear, concise and delivered with impact. We worried that these messages might de diluted in a half day presentation.
Companies, especially those in the biotech sector, need to be strategic when preparing to target new shareholders. And biotech companies have to do a lot of targeting because developing new drugs and therapies is a long and very expensive process, necessitating frequent rounds of raising capital.
Management teams that go to potential shareholders without a strategic plan are at risk of returning with investors who aren’t an ideal fit — or with nothing at all.
Is it time to take your company public? Many executives dream of the day when their business begins trading shares on Wall Street, but an IPO is an expensive and grueling process that necessarily distracts you from your core business. And a failed attempt at an offering can damage your credibility for many years.
That’s why it’s vital to be sure you’re ready to go public before you begin the formal process. Here are seven signs that you’re not quite there yet:
Mark Twain said that the “difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
There’s a lesson in there for all of us. Say the wrong thing (or even the right thing poorly) and you’re going to underwhelm, disappoint, confuse, or even lose your listeners. And during your company’s earnings call, mistakes like that can cause a crisis.
While most of Wall Street is focusing on second quarter earnings and squeezing in vacations before Labor Day, it’s never too early to begin preparing for the J.P. Morgan 33rd Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this January, the premier healthcare investment conference of the year. If you are planning to attend but haven’t started thinking about logistics, you are already a little behind. Much of the meeting space and hotel rooms are already spoken for, so the time to start making arrangements is now.
Private companies often tell us about the considerable time and effort they spend meeting with investment bankers and sharing insights on their business, out of hope that these bankers will take an interest in underwriting their IPO. Yet when we ask which sell-side research analysts they’ve met, we are typically met with a blank stare.
Many executives don’t understand the importance and value of meeting with sell-side analysts while still a private company. In fact, most management teams don’t realize that research analysts actually want to meet management teams of private companies. For sell-side analysts, meeting with private companies enables them to build an early relationship with promising companies and gain valuable insights on the industry and products.
Many early-stage companies need consistent access to capital to invest in growing the business, to fund long-term projects, or for R&D. Over the past few decades, alternate modes of funding have evolved to help public companies raise money more expeditiously. One mode of funding is at-the-market (ATM) financing, which emerged in the 1980s with utility companies looking to raise capital on an ongoing basis. From that time on, companies in a broader range of industries, both large cap and small cap, started using it, and when the market dropped in 2008, the number of companies seeking funding through ATMs rose significantly.
Today, many public-company CFOs and CEOs, especially in biotech/life sciences, consider an ATM financing part of their capital-raising arsenal. When deciding on whether or not to put an ATM in place, it is important to understand how an ATM functions, and the pros and cons. Continue Reading