Two tech-related IPOs in one day might at one time seemed like the kiss of death, but that doesn’t appear to be the case today. Security software company Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) came public this morning priced at $42/share. In the first 90 minutes of trading, shares are up nearly 34%, at $56.15.
Later this morning, travel site Kayak Software Software Inc. (NASDAQ: KYAK) will issue its first shares at $26/share. At least one analyst thinks the shares are worth as much as $32, which implies a fat 23% gain that could grow materially as the day goes on.
Compare these IPOs with the first offering from Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB). In that one, Facebook insisted on a share price that would push the company’s valuation above $100 billion. And Facebook got the price it wanted, while early shareholders whined about not getting that big first-day bump. Lead underwriter Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) reportedly had to put up its own cash to support the IPO price by the end of Facebook’s own trading day.
Or compare the April IPO of Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK), which went out at $17/share and closed its first day of trading at more than double the initial price.
Which company did the best? Arguably Facebook did because it got the highest possible IPO price for its shares and the money all went into the company’s bank account. Palo Alto Networks, Kayak, and Splunk are giving underwriters and their favored clients a fat gift. Discount teen retailer Five Below Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVE), which held its IPO yesterday, went out at $17/share and closed at $26.50, up 56%.
Its pretty easy to see why underwriters and the favorite customers like the big-bounce IPO instead of the one that is priced more favorably for the company. But why companies like Palo Alto Networks and Splunk — and presumably Kayak — don’t squawk is less obvious.