Communication strategies to drive IPO performance

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Session recap

The private business of going public: communication strategies

A company going public may need to act subdued during the private period, but that doesn’t mean communication should come to a standstill. The Communication strategies to drive IPO performance Forum panel offered ways to navigate what to say and who should say it to keep the all-important road show on track.

“Identify your spokesperson early on,” urged Kathleen Nemeth, Vice President, Investor Relations, Juniper Networks. “From an SEC and stock market perspective, have only one voice speak to the street.”

Paul Palmieri, President & CEO, Milennial Media, spoke of communicating with passion. “As the CEO,” he advised other leaders, “you already tell a good story and you know how to promote your company. And if you are disciplined enough to file an S-1, I think you have the proficiency to tell the story with passion.”

Employees are an integral part of the communications plan. Palmieri explained that, at some point, CEOs and CFOs learn that the IPO is base camp, not the summit of Mount Everest. “All employees deserve to have this moment as well,” he said. “You will need to establish a communications plan for the future.”

Mark Volchek, the CEO of Higher One Holdings, Inc., said he realized there was a balance between too much disclosure and not enough during the quiet period, especially where employees were concerned. “We couldn’t give them too much information as that would put them in an uncomfortable situation during the S-1,” he shared. “But we didn’t want to scare them — and we encouraged business as normal.” Volchek believes he struck that right balance by holding quarterly information meetings with employees before Higher One went public.

On a final note, Kenn Guernsey, a partner at Cooley LLP, offered practical advice for those operating in this age of instant communications: “Don’t say anything that you don’t want to have quoted back to you while on the road or in the aftermarket, or in the Wall Street Journal.”

Speakers:

Kenn Guernsey photo

Kenn Guernsey
Partner
Cooley LLP

Paul Palmieri photo

Paul Palmieri
President & CEO
Millennial Media

Mark Volchek photo Mark Volchek
Chief Executive Officer
Higher One Holdings, Inc
Kathleen Nemeth photo Kathleen Nemeth
Vice President Investor Relations
Juniper Networks

Moderator:

William Bowmer photo

William Bowmer
Managing Director, Head of Technology Equity Capital Markets
Barclays