I’ve written before on collaboration between the information “silos” that exist within some organizations and why it is important to establish — and stick to — an internal control process for issuing public information. The other morning, I was reminded why this is so important … and the consequences of what can happen when it breaks down.
Shortly after market open, I received a call from a CFO saying he was surprised by a press release that his company had issued pre-market, about which he was already getting calls from analysts with questions. He had to go to his own company’s website to see what had been released. My second call was from the General Counsel of that same company asking how they could add a Forward Looking Statement paragraph on a material release that had already been issued, as well as make corrections to outdated language in the “About the Company” section.
Anyone who pays attention to Wall Street knows that 2016 has gotten off to a bruising start. The Dow is off nearly 7 percent since the beginning of the year, and more than 10 percent since peaking last May. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite Index have seen similar declines since their peaks.
That’s a tough environment in which to go public. And, indeed, not a single company did so in January, the first month in more than four years that lacked an IPO. Right now, investors just aren’t sure how to value new offerings while the broader market continues its correction.
The 2016 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference has concluded, and while the market backdrop for this year’s event was noticeably less positive than it has been in recent years, the conference was nevertheless rich with important lessons. We polled our team on what struck them most about the event, and what guidance they’d offer to companies attending future conferences. We found their responses illuminating, and we think you will, too. Enjoy.
I worked on the sell side for seven years and I saw it all the time: Companies issuing material news — sometimes very good news — while failing to appreciate how the announcement would be received by a skeptical investor community.
As an executive, you want to minimize any negative reaction to your company’s latest update. That’s natural. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with accentuating the positive, it’s important to remember that sell-side analysts are trained to poke holes in your story. That’s their job, and most of them are very good at it.
In a previous blog post, I discussed why it is essential for companies heading into an IPO to carefully evaluate the sales teams of potential investment banking partners before selecting their banks. Their job is to sell your stock to institutional investors. Yet sometimes the distribution capabilities and differences of each bank is underappreciated.
In this installment, I want to explore the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with that sales force after the initial offering is complete, and to share some ideas about how to do it.
In the past several months, several of our Medical Technology clients have participated in investment bank-sponsored conferences or traveled to meet investors in one-on-one meetings. In preparation for these meetings, we work with our clients to create a list of topical and provocative questions that investors are likely to ask, and we help to prepare scripted answers. We also create investor profiles ahead of every investor meeting so that our clients have information at their fingertips on competitive share positions, the investor’s background, and our insight as to focus areas for that particular investor.
While most questions that investors and analysts ask in these meetings pertain to the particulars of the business, revenue growth, and market dynamics, we have come to expect the unexpected. We know that thorough preparation is crucial.
Negotiating a merger or acquisition can be all-consuming for a company’s management team given the complexity of such deals, and the stakes involved. These transactions can be as transformational as an IPO — more so, in some cases.
But even the very best merger or acquisition can fall apart if the management team doesn’t also develop a strategic communications plan to inform the outside world about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. This cannot be an afterthought. Time is of the essence.
Private firms face few regulations governing public statements, so communication missteps aren’t likely to violate laws and spur law enforcement actions.
For public companies, quite the opposite is true. There are legally binding rules in place, and a failure to comply with them can have serious consequences. As a result, it is vitally important that companies provide their employees with substantive training.
One of the most frequently asked questions we hear from executives running private life science companies is this: why are some firms in our industry generating a lot of buzz and interest among crossover investors while others are not? And a common follow-up is: What do I need to do to cultivate that kind of investor appetite for my company?
So it was no surprise that several executives raised these very questions during the Westwicke Partners’ Biotechnology Pre-IPO Crossover Investor Conference that we recently co-hosted in New York with William Blair, a leading and growth-oriented global investment banking firm.
Few will deny that analyst research still plays a key role in any investor relations strategy. And every time one of us sees a stock getting a healthy bump in the markets following an analyst upgrade or initiation, we can easily be tempted to believe that analysts wield an enormous amount of influence over a company’s valuation and success.
Should you make expanding research coverage your top IR priority? Have you found yourself pre-occupied with making the cut with analysts and adding more research coverage to your ranks?
However, before you potentially find yourself off course with a misguided plan, let’s consider a few perspectives.