The IPO Class of 1993

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What has 1993 done for you lately?

Sure, hopping into the DeLorean with Michael J. Fox to go back 15 years in time may not be your ideal first stop. Although, that’s exactly what we’re going to do since we’re celebrating the Motley Fool’s 15-year anniversary. 1993 also gave us Jurassic Park and Arrested Development's "Mr. Wendal." Unfortunately, the same year also unleashed Mrs. Doubtfire and Ace of Base.

You have to take the good with the bad. There can be no feast without famine, and vice versa. The same theory applies to the IPO market. Yes, 1993 was the year in which Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU  ) went public. It also happens to be the year in which Boston Chicken hit the market.

I'm not going to key in on the Boston Chickens of 1993. Way too many companies go public with starry eyes, only to disappoint their investors. I'm going to write about the companies that went public in 1993 and are alive and kicking 15 years later.

Getting into it with Intuit
Intuit was a Wall Street debutante in 1993, just a year after introducing its QuickBooks accounting software. The company used its IPO proceeds to buy TurboTax developer Chipsoft later that year.

Cornering the market on small office accounting and tax preparation programs, Intuit has been the welcome beneficiary of the self-empowering computer revolution. That tiny company that dared to go public in 1993 closed out fiscal 2008 with net income of $451 million on $3.1 billion in revenue.

With over 8,000 employees, it's hard to imagine where Intuit would be if it hadn't gone public in 1993. Would its Quicken and QuickBooks franchises that sell so well at the beginning of the year be as powerful if the company wasn't a major player in tax filings a few months later?

Beyond the virtual bean counters
Who else went public besides Intuit? I thought you'd never ask.

1993 was a bumper crop for technology debuts, though naturally this was a couple of years before the Internet-based players flooded the market. Let's go over a few of the notable members that came out of the 1993 graduating class.

Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL  ) and Sanmina-SCI (Nasdaq: SANM  ) both went public in 1993. The two companies provide outsourcing manufacturing solutions for the electronics industry.

Sanmina-SCI topped the $10 billion mark in annual sales last year but has struggled with its profitability. Meanwhile, Jabil's steady flow of earnings and its hefty dividend yield of 4.4% find it commanding the larger market cap of the two.

JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU  ) also went public in 1993. The broadband and optical innovator in the telco industry was a darling in the 1990s, declaring five 2-for-1 stock splits during its first seven years as a public company.

Then, JDS Uniphase crashed along with many tech stocks after the dot-com bubble collapsed. In a humbling move after a history of so many forward splits, JDS Uniphase declared a 1-for-8 reverse stock split two years ago.

Even more arrivals to the 15 year reunion
TriQuint Semiconductor (Nasdaq: TQNT  ) is another 1993 rookie. The chipmaker for the communications industry gets around. You'll find its handiwork in four of the five largest handset manufacturers. It is also the leading supplier of gallium arsenide to defense and aerospace contractors.

While we're still on the subject of aerospace, Gilat Satellite Networks (Nasdaq: GILT  ) is another member of the 1993 class. Gilat offers digital satellite communication applications through its Very Small Aperture Terminals for corporations, governments, and residential users.

Plenty of notable 1993 IPOs no longer trade on their own, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. CPU manufacturer Cyrix was snapped up by National Semiconductor a few years after breaking through. Veritas Software merged with Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC  ) three years ago. Mercury Interactive got hitched to HP in a whopping $4.5 billion deal two years ago.

Yes, if there's anything that can be said of the class of 1993, it's that many of its star pupils fared well on their own, or shook their moneymakers long enough to marry well.

In short, Fooldom is in good company with good companies.

Other IPO tricks of the trade:

Symantec is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz was an early fan of The Fool, joining as a contributor in 1995. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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