Pre-deal communication strategies
Session recap: Strategies on the road to the IPO
On the road to an IPO, companies need to carefully plot their communications, but the best approach varies as widely as the audience, a panel of C-suite executives and top transaction advisors revealed during the session “Pre-deal communications strategies.”
Jonathan Art, Portfolio Manager and Senior Investment Analyst, Federated Kaufmann Fund, said he likes to get to know the nuances of a business to develop the conviction to invest. “The earlier you get to speak to a company, the better,” he said.
The road show is an “elevator test,” said Scott Skidmore, Managing Director, Barclays. “Can you explain your business in a very concise way in a short period of time?”
But companies can’t neglect what will happen in the long run, post-IPO. “Once you are public, you need to focus on running your business and delivering what you promised to those investors,” Skidmore said.In the early days of an IPO, discretion is key. "It's best to have as buttoned-up an IPO process as you can, keeping the communications under control," said Kenn Guersney, Partner with Cooley LLP. "That means for people outside the company, it's strictly need to know, and that seems pretty clear. For employees, that's an issue that's not quite as cut and dry these days as it used to be."
Will West, Chairman, Co-Founder and CSO of Control4, which just finished an IPO, wondered why a company would do anything other than file confidentially under the JOBS Act. “It’s a huge advantage to be able to sort of operate under cover as you’re getting ready and not feel like you’ve got to get everything perfect, then file," he said.
Pre-deal communication strategies
AJ Jordan, an assurance partner in Ernst & Young LLP’s Philadelphia office, is the firm’s East Central Region Strategic Growth Markets Leader. He oversees the firm’s market strategy to help emerging high-growth companies navigate the various challenges of a growth-oriented enterprise. AJ has worked with these companies and their investors for over 22 years and has served as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Greater Philadelphia Leader. His clients include some of the highest-profile companies in the Greater Philadelphia region, with a technology industry focus. AJ has led EY's advisory efforts to assist with four initial public offerings and multiple secondary offerings.
Jonathan Art is a portfolio manager with the Federated Kaufmann Fund, where he is responsible for investments in technology, communications and renewable energy. Previously, he was with S Squared Technology, a hedge fund in New York. Earlier, Mr. Art was Vice President of Corporate Development of Gartner Group. He managed the consulting and research activities for the venture capital and investment banking communities. He began as a sell-side analyst covering technology for an affiliate of Gartner Group. He has a BES from The Johns Hopkins University and an MS from the Sloan School at MIT, where he was a Sloan Fellow.
Kenn Guernsey is a partner in Cooley’s San Francisco office and formerly served as Cooley’s Chief Executive from 1990 to 1996. Mr. Guernsey has served as counsel to numerous industry-leading companies that have pioneered new industries or business models, including Genentech, eBay, Yelp, Zynga, Jawbone, Gilead Sciences, Wired, Peet's Coffee & Tea, LeapFrog, Metricom, Raychem and Atari. Mr. Guernsey's transactional expertise includes initial and follow-on public offerings, private investment in public equity financings and private placements. He has represented issuers and underwriters in more than 60 public offerings and has been recognized by IPO Vital Signs as among the top IPO lawyers nationally.
Scott Skidmore is a managing director and is responsible for the Industrial, Real Estate, Gaming & Lodging Equity Capital Origination effort at Barclays. Mr. Skidmore has over 15 years of investment banking experience. Mr. Skidmore joined Barclays Capital (formerly Lehman Brothers) in September 2007. Prior to joining Lehman Brothers, Mr. Skidmore spent approximately nine years in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, where he focused on the industrial, real estate and natural resource sectors. During his career, he has worked on a variety of equity, equity-linked, M&A and fixed-income transactions for both public and private companies. Mr. Skidmore has completed more than 100 equity and equity-linked transactions in his career.
Will West is Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Control4. Since co-founding the company in March 2003, he has led the company’s efforts to create a revolutionary new line of affordable home automation solutions. Will has raised more than $400 million in private capital to start his last three companies. In 1998, he co-founded STSN (now iBAHN), the worldwide leader in broadband services for business travelers serving millions of customer in thousands of hotels. Prior to founding STSN, Will was CEO and Co-founder of PHAST Corporation. He holds a degree in Finance from the University of Utah and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.