AutoTrader IPO Could Rekindle IPO Market (ATG, FB)

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There has been very little activity in the initial public offering market of late.  Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is largely to blame, as was the “Sell in May and Go Away!” theme which gripped the markets.  That may be close to changing soon if AutoTrader can manage to attract buyers of private equity IPOs.

AutoTrader Group, Inc. filed its IPO paperwork on Friday and this company has been a great tool for car sellers (I have personally sold two cars through them). The company filed to sell up to $300,000,000 worth of its Class A common stock under the stock ticker “ATG” on either the  New York Stock Exchange or The NASDAQ Global Market.  Keep in mind that this will have that dual-class of shares structure and each share of Class B common stock is entitled to 10 votes per share, and that means that shareholders who buy this stock will likely have very little (if any) power.

In the first quarter of 2012, the company provided over 29 million average monthly unique visitors with free, convenient access to over 3.4 million daily searches. This is the largest digital automotive marketplace and a provider of marketing and software solutions to automotive dealers via AutoTrader.com and Kelley Blue Book brands.

The underwriting efforts are being led by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley; co-managers are as follows: Allen & Company; Barclays; Citigroup; Deutsche Bank; SunTrust Robinson Humphrey; RBC Capital Markets; Raymond James; Evercore Partners; Guggenheim Securities; and The Williams Capital Group. The majority shareholder is CEI (parent of Cox Communications) and The Providence Funds acquired a 25% interest in 2010. Sales in 2011 were $1.025 billion, up from $737.8 million in 2010 and $629.45 million in 2009.

Elsewhere in IPO-Land…

EXA CORPORATION has set its IPO terms today in its fifth amendment to its S-1 filing. The developer of simulation software and services is selling some 6,250,000 shares of common stock at a price of $11 to $13 per share. Be advised that this company clearly stated, “We are an “emerging growth company” within the meaning of the recently enacted Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or the JOBS Act, and will be subject to reduced public company reporting requirements.”  The underwriters are listed as Stifel Nicolaus Weisel, Baird, Canaccord Genuity, and Needham & Company.

Evonik Industries AG in Europe has delayed its initial public offering as the German specialty chemicals maker said that market turmoil is not allowing it be valued at a price which majority owner CVC Capital Partners Ltd. is willing to sell shares.

Here is the Full S-1 Filing from AutoTrader

JON C. OGG