It’s hard to believe I have already been working at Westwicke Partners for 90 days. After a long career as a sell-side equity analyst, the last three months have truly given me a new perspective on how I view company management teams vs. how the Street views them.
For 25 years, I was paid to poke holes in stories — and believe me, in many cases it was easy to do and I would ask myself, Why can’t this management team just get it right? Now, looking from the inside out, I can more clearly see some of the reasons.
When shopping for a major purchase, say for a new home or car, many people wisely draft lists of must-have features and optional nice-to-have features.
Compiling a list of needs and wants is also valuable to companies searching for an investment bank, especially given how frequently they fail to evaluate a key feature: the banks’ institutional sales forces. During my 18 years on Wall Street, I can’t tell you how often I saw companies make the mistake of considering the right sales force a want-to-have feature, when they should have considered it a must-have.
Last year was a record for biotechnology IPOs, with some 82 companies raising a combined $5.5 billion. Not all IPOs are created equal, however. A good IPO is one that benefits all stakeholders and leaves the door open to future mutually beneficial collaboration.
What, then, are the secrets of successful IPOs?
Let’s start with one of the basics. The success of an IPO is judged first on whether or not participating investors make money on the transaction, and secondarily, on whether the listing company raises the funds it was seeking.
If one word alone could describe the J.P. Morgan 33rd Annual Healthcare Conference, that word, from my purview, would be productive. I met one-on-one with management teams from 44 companies, and nearly our entire team came together in San Francisco that week to take part in the conference and help clients fine-tune and deliver on their 2015 investor relations plans.
At Westwicke, we consider J.P. Morgan the “super bowl” of investor conferences. No, we don’t eat chicken wings and shout at the TV, but a lot of action happens at J.P. Morgan — this year even more than in the past. And just like in football, it pays to show up ready and prepared because, as we’ve discussed before on this blog, an elevator ride with the right person (and the right pitch) can make all the difference.
Last week, Histogenics became the 100th initial public offering (IPO) in the healthcare sector in 2014, with pharmaceutical and biotech companies leading the pack. Healthcare IPOs now account for close to 40 percent of all IPOs registered for the year, more than any other sector.
At Westwicke, the year has passed in a flash, with our investor relations, capital markets, and IPO advisory experts crossing multiple time zones regularly to meet with clients and attend conferences and road shows. We shared some of our experiences and key takeaways in our last blog post, “Lessons Learned in Healthcare IR from 2014.” Here, we’d like to reveal our most popular blog posts of the year — and share essential points that can help you plan for the year ahead.
There’s a saying in investor relations: “You date your investment bankers, but you marry your research analysts.” Essentially, this means that most sell-side analysts who cover your company will remain your partner for the long run. Investment bankers, on the other hand, work with a long list of companies and deal with jam-packed, demanding schedules. They don’t disappear after the initial public offering (IPO), but the time they can devote to your company diminishes.
The opposite happens for sell-side analysts: after the IPO, the time they spend interacting with your management team and learning about (and talking about) your company increases. Sell-side analysts are at every quarterly earnings release, at many investor conferences, and if they sponsor a non-deal road show, they should be by your side at those events, too. The most effective relationships with sell-side analysts are, in theory, like those of married couples: full of back-and-forth interaction and long-term.
In the months that follow the successful completion of an initial public offering (IPO), some companies have a hard time striking a balance between under- and over-communicating. This happens, in part, because the final week of the IPO road show is one of the most frenetic and adrenalin-pumping periods in the careers of any management team, and being back in the office after so much excitement can feel like a letdown.
To fill that void, some management teams react by getting right back out there (once the 25-day quiet period has expired) to tell their story to the same or new investors all over again. At Westwicke, we advise rethinking that strategy and taking a more balanced approach. Consider these tips and real-life scenarios from the field to help you determine the right mix.
Completing an initial public offering (IPO) is a major milestone for your company, and a journey that involves many months (and in some cases years) of hard work and dedication. As you likely know, the timeline ends with the pricing and allocation of your IPO — a process that is short in duration but one of the most important steps in your path to becoming a public company.
What do you need to know about the pricing and allocation process to help you act in the best interest of your company and shareholders? Below, I walk you through the associated primary concepts.
The road to an initial public offering (IPO) can be long and arduous, and when not well planned and executed, subject to many missteps. Consider what happened recently to the Israeli biotech company, Vascular Biogenics (VBL Therapeutics). The company went public with an offering of 5.4 million shares. Less than a week later, the underwriters, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, terminated the offering when an existing shareholder did not fund payment for shares it previously agreed to purchase in the offering, according to a VBL Therapeutics press release.
While VBL’s pullback is clearly a draconian scenario, other mistakes abound as companies move toward an IPO. What are the most common mistakes on the path to an IPO? How can your company prevent them, and what can you do if you’re already in the thick of them? Our team of experts at Westwicke tackled these questions recently in a round-table discussion. Here are excerpts of the conversation.
Bookrunners play a significant role in the execution of a successful IPO transaction. Too often, though, a private company CEO does not fully appreciate the importance of selecting the right bank(s) to lead their IPO. It is vital to find the bookrunner(s) with the right combination of capabilities, experience, and “fit.”
Here are seven key considerations for evaluating potential bookrunner(s) for your IPO: