IPOs get all the attention, but they're called initial public offerings for a reason: Sometimes, companies go back for seconds. Investors don't like surprises, and they don't like getting a smaller piece of a company's pie than they expected. Nevertheless, secondary offerings are a useful market tool, and three companies have recently decided it's what they need to succeed. Keep reading for the details, as well as to learn what secondary offerings can and can't do for your portfolio's profits.
Shocking news from NextEra
Utility company NextEra (NYSE: NEE ) announced last week that it will sell $650 million of equity units to Barclays, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. In addition to providing up-front debt-financed capital, equity units will also serve as a future source of funding for NextEra, guaranteeing that these investment banks will buy NextEra's common stock between $67 and $81 by September 2015.
In the company's press release, it estimates that the net proceeds from this sale will come in around $630 million, but no specific purpose for these new funds is listed. Utilities are generally a capital-intensive industry, and NextEra's focus on renewables makes cash in hand even more important for this expanding company. The company estimates that in 2012 alone, it will spend $1.4 billion on wind energy capital expenditures.
Papa's got a brand new bag
Last Friday, luxury clothing company Michael Kors (NYSE: KORS ) announced that it will be offering 20 million new shares to the general public, as well as up to 15% more shares for the company's underwriters.
Kors is one of the few IPOs of 2011 that actually went right, so this secondary offering came as a surprise to some investors. Its stock has appreciated 120% from its $20 starting price tag, but Kors has good reason to get greedy.
As the economy is poised to recover, increasing its store presence will allow this company to achieve the scale benefits that its competitors Coach (NYSE: COH ) and Ralph Lauren already enjoy. Here's a quick breakdown of each company's store count, capital expenditures, and market cap:
Capital Expenditures, Most Recent Quarter
Sources: Company SEC filings, Yahoo! Finance, ycharts.com.
Another successful IPO story, real estate tech company Zillow (Nasdaq: Z ) is attempting to push its growth into overdrive with another $147 million in stock offerings. Add in shares from other investors, and the offering rises to 4 million shares. Shares have shot up 75% since the start of this year, which has caused some investors to wonder if Zillow might be overconfident in setting a $43 offering price.
However, as my fellow Foolish writer Rick Munarriz points out, the real estate industry is picking up speed and Zillow can't afford to lag behind. Zillow's 75% boost in quarterly sales is nothing to laugh at, but its $1.1 billion market cap leaves a lot of room to grow. The company's CEO estimates that real estate advertising is a $6 billion market, and he wants every last penny of that to be funneled through his Zillow.com.
Even as these three companies ready themselves for an influx of cash, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB ) announced last week that CEO Mark Zuckerberg would not be selling new shares for at least another year, and it's looking increasingly likely that Facebook itself will also choose not to do a follow-on offering. The company had initially planned on selling more stock to cover its IPO taxes, but it's had to revise plans as its stock has dropped more than 50% since its May debut. Instead, the tech company will most likely dig into its $10 billion cash reserves to pay an estimated $1.9 billion tax bill.
Facebook needs to grow like any other corporation, and some heavy R&D is needed to ensure that the company can continue to monetize its advertisements. However, it understands that diluting its shares would be comparable to poking a porcupine with a stick. Facebook investors aren't exactly happy with the stock's performance, so the company is wisely looking elsewhere.
Foolish bottom line
Companies don't always act in the best interest of their shareholders, and any corporation announcing a secondary public offering needs to have a pretty good reason for doing so. In the case of these three companies, each is attempting to grow and compete in a time when extra cash could mean the difference between first and last place.
Likewise, Facebook has made a smart decision not to pursue another stock offering, instead using its rainy-day reserves to pay its debt without irking investors. Understanding the story behind any "SPO" will help make you a better investor, so be sure to always ask the deeper questions when your portfolio pick decides to go back for seconds.
Facebook's move to not move on another public offering is giving some investors hope that the company is ready for a rebound. Tech whiz and Motley Fool Analyst Evan Niu has prepared a special premium report outlining his own take on Facebook's future. Evan analyzes the value of Facebook's user base and international growth opportunities, and whether the company's advertising is worth as much as it's selling for. The report comes with a full year of free updates and is available for a limited time only, so be sure to grab your copy today.