Note! The following was our 1999 April Fool's joke. To read the explanation of the joke and why we did it, click here.
Statement from the Brothers
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Our First IPO: eMeringue, Inc.
Occasionally, a truly revolutionary company emerges, one that cannot be fairly priced with traditional valuation techniques. We call these the Rule Breakers. As we've illustrated in our latest book, these businesses are usually leaders in an important emerging industry; they have great management; they have smart financial backers; and they're often considered overvalued by a significant constituent of the mainstream media.
We believe that we've found the Ultimate Rule Breaker for you, and today we're giving you a chance to be a part owner by bringing it to the public markets.
The company's name? eMeringue -- it's a technological force that is rapidly changing how food is served over the Internet. To explain further, we need to backtrack a bit�
Two months ago, Jeff Fischer first heard of eMeringue.com from a Foolish interview with Matt4Vols, one of our registered members. Jeff went to the company's website and was struck by the simplicity of the concept and the complete emphasis on food quality and customer service. After a quick glance at the company's financial statements, he knew that he'd found the next Rule Breaker stock.
But there was one problem. The company wasn't public.
Up until now, The Motley Fool has specialized at researching and investing in great public companies. And so eMeringue presented us with a compelling problem, a puzzling opportunity. We asked ourselves, "Why can't our thinking be applied to emerging, privately held businesses that might rise 5x to 50x in value on the day they hit the public markets?"
Now, veteran reader, you know that we've generally shied away from initial public offerings (IPOs). We've taught individual investors that unless you're on the "inside," they're simply too big a risk. Customarily, Wall Street's investment firms reserve shares of great IPOs for their high-net-worth clients and sell lower-grade offerings to their smaller customers. If the phone rings and it's an aggressive cold-call pitching an IPO, we've suggested that you should hang up the phone, and laugh!
But then it occurred to us that we could get on the "inside" by actually underwriting companies ourselves. We could underwrite the business -- like full-service brokerage firms do. We could gain access to inside information via regular conference calls, analyst-only meetings, and through quarterly earnings guidance from corporate executives -- just like full-service brokerage firms do. And we could profit substantially from a heated IPO market -- just as full-service firms do today.
And that's why we're proud to now announce that The Motley Fool has underwritten the Initial Public Offering of eMeringue Inc., and that the stock is going public today. eMeringue is only the first of many companies that we hope to discover, guide, and finance into worldwide prominence. We almost cannot see how this won't succeed.
You're probably wondering, "But why haven't I heard about eMeringue before?" Simple. If we're going to conduct an IPO, we have to do it Foolishly. You see, Initial Public Offerings are rarely ever "public." Unless your therapist knows the cousin of your broker's karate instructor, you're rarely able to buy at the IPO price. And that can prove disastrous. In November 1998, many investors placed market orders for theGlobe.com IPO expecting to get shares at the $9 offering price. Imagine how shocked they were to find their order had been executed at $90 per share. The stock is trading at $50 today. They've lost a lot of money.
That's not a very public offering, is it?
We figured we could, in part, correct that problem. By announcing the eMeringue IPO on the actual day it's occurring, we'll avoid all the hype, speculation, and insider deals that so often accompany these events. In other words, we don't expect eMeringue to trade up significantly at the open today.
So who did get in on the IPO? Because we're doing this ourselves, we wanted to make sure that you, our Foolish readers, had the first crack at the IPO shares. Unfortunately, we couldn't offer shares to all our members. So we decided to reward our hard-core Fools -- the ones who contribute and participate most actively to our site. Last week, we offered IPO shares to any of the regular posters to our Day Trading message folder who are also subscribers to The Motley Fool's Daytrader Alert! (tm). In future offerings, we will favor other diehard Fool.com members.
Now let's briefly move on to the company itself, because you should know something about it before buying the stock.
eMeringue is the number one meringue delivery service on the Internet. Since May 1998, it has provided plenty of happy customers with its delectable confections. According to its website, www.emeringue.com, it guarantees "delivery of a pie meringue to anywhere in the U.S. in seven days." The website even displays how much time they have saved Americans in dessert preparation, and frankly, we were damned impressed.
The concept is simple.
At its website, you pick out a meringue, choosing a diameter, shape, and flavor. eMeringue will take care of the rest. When your meringue arrives, simply open the box, scoop it out, and place it atop your pie. That's about as easy as it gets on the Internet, folks. Just imagine what will happen when eMeringue, through its growing series of pending patents, does this for other sorts of food. All across the world.
"Hi! I'm Marty Meringue. Join me and the rest of the gang at www.emeringue.com!"
So, today eMeringue will conduct its IPO with the full support and backing of The Motley Fool. We'll be updating the site every hour today with brief notes on how the stock is doing, including price quotes. Our research analyst will also be coming out with the customary "Strong Buy" report later today. We've also provided several other features on eMeringue, including:
1. A snapshot of the IPO
2. A Dueling Fools segment
3. A Real Audio interview with the company's CEO
And if you're interested, you can pre-order Larry McCloskey's book describing the brief but exciting history of eMeringue.
Falling just short of pressing you aggressively -- as full-service brokerage firms might -- to purchase shares of eMeringue today or in the days ahead, the two of us do feel very strongly that this company belongs in the Internet portion of your portfolio. We've been right about this emerging industry ever since our purchase of America Online in 1994 -- right on through to Amazon.com, eBay, and @Home. Now it's time for us to cash in on some of that knowledge.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the IPO. Even if you don't own stocks yet, this is one you shouldn't miss. If you have questions, comments, or would like more information on buying now, click here: Send us an e-mail!
David and Tom Gardner
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Click here for hourly updates on eMeringue's stock
beginning at 9 a.m. EST. And take some time to check out eMeringue's website at www.emeringue.com.