The 4 Best and Worst IPOs

IPOsOur digital marketing agency isn’t a publicly traded company, but yesterday, the fast-paced social media powerhouse, Twitter, went public on the New York Stock Exchange. So, in honor of companies’ initial public offerings, I though it would be fun to compile the four best and four worst IPOs in recent history.

Best

eBay (EBAY)

eBay, the online consumer-to-consumer corporation headquartered in San Jose, California, experienced one of the most successful first-day IPOs to date. On September 24, 1998, the company went public at $18 a share and nearly tripled its price, closing at $53. The company raised $63 million and stayed well above $53, touching over $300 in early 1999. Today, shares are still worth nearly $53.

Google (GOOG)

Before Google went public on August 19, 2004, there were many skeptical about the decision. The company had received criticism for a Playboy magazine interview, a last-minute drop in their IPO price, which began at $85 a share. Nevertheless, Google decided to go public and raised $1.6 billion. By 2007, shares were over $600 and today, they are over $1,000.

AT&T Wireless (AWE)

The telecommunications company AT&T’s separate entity of AT&T Wireless went public on April 26, 2000 with shares set at $29.50. Despite a shaky market due to newly-released inflation data, AT&T sold 360 million shares and raised a total of $10.6 billion in just one day, which was (at the time) the largest IPO in history. The stock is now under AT&T Inc. (T) and is still successful.

Qualcomm (QCOM)

On December 13, 1991, San Diego-based wireless technology company Qualcomm went public with shares at $18. The company’s stock was successful and grew rapidly over the next eight years, peaking at $176.13 a share in December of 1999. Today, the company is still doing well, with shares at $69.

Worst

Omeros (OMER)

This biotechnology firm in Seattle went public on October 7, 2009 with a share price of $10. The company hoped to raise $80 million, however, before it went public, an ex-chief executive accused Omeros of forging timekeeping records in order to get an NIH grant. The company ended up raising $62 million, but declined 36% in its first two weeks of being public and 42% by November.

FriendFinder Networks (FFN)

FriendFinder Networks, the company that owns FriendFinder.com, Penthouse, and a slew of sex and dating websites, went public on May 11, 2011 and looked promising at first. The social company opened with a share price of $10 and raised $50 million. However, just a year later, the company’s stock tanked to just $1.20 a share.

MF Global Holdings (MFGLQ)

Formerly known as Man Financial, this commodities brokerage firm based in New York City saw trouble after it went public on July 18, 2007. The company opened with a share price of $30 and ended up raising nearly $3 billion. In early 2008, however, MF Global was forced to fork over $141 million for unauthorized trading and was then fined $10 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and $495,000 by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. MF Global filed for bankruptcy in October 2011.

Webvan.com (WBVN)

Headquartered in California, this grocery delivery service went public in November of 1999 and raised $375 million. The company also received $1 billion from private investment firms, yet with so much money, Webvan still couldn’t make it. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001; many people say it’s because the company built 300,000-square-foot distribution centers that cost $25 million to build and because they lost so much money during processing and delivery fees.

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