2 Companies That Dared to Go Public

The IPO calendar is pretty barren this time of year, and it obviously doesn't help that fears of the fiscal cliff have scared away some of the potential debutantes.

Just two companies went public last week, and only three brave entities are slated to begin trading this week.

However, even with enough time to dedicate to the rare offerings, mistakes can still happen.

WhiteHorse Finance (NASDAQ: WHF  ) found out the hard way.

The Miami-based business development company was set to go public on Wednesday morning. A request was made to extend the debut by a few minutes to effectively match the incoming orders to establish the right opening price, but that's where Nasdaq (NASDAQ: NDAQ  ) fumbled the offering.

The Wall Street Journal reports that an exchange veteran accidentally clicked on the icon to halt trading instead of merely extending the pre-IPO period. The "human error" delayed WhiteHorse Finance's debut for hours, and it may be why the IPO that had no problem pricing at $15 the night before closed at $13.90 on its hour-long initial trading day.

The other newbie last week -- Western Gas Equity Partners (NYSE: WGP  ) -- had a more successful start.

The master limited partnership was formed to take ownership in different types of partnership interests in Western Gas Partners (NYSE: WES  ) . The deal was originally expected to price between $19 and $21, but it ultimately hit the market at $22 a share on Friday morning. It wasn't enough. The stock popped higher, closing 27% higher on the day.

Limited partnerships have their limitations, but yield chasers were drawn to Western Gas Equity's initial quarterly dividend rate of $0.165 a share.

In short, it was a case of feast or famine.

Company 

IPO

Dec. 7, 2012

Gain/Loss

WhiteHorse Finance

$15

$14.11

(6%)

Western Gas Equity Partners

$22

$28.00

27%

Source: The Wall Street Journal.

The three companies set to go public this week are SolarCity, PBF Energy, and Silver Bay Realty Trust.

Silver Bay is a REIT that buys single-family homes and then turns them around as rentals, and PBF Energy is a petroleum refiner. SolarCity is the one that will likely draw the most interest.

It sells solar power solutions for homes and businesses. Yes, solar energy has been a dead sector for investors since last year, but SolarCity is interesting because its chairman is none other than Elon Musk.

Yes, that Musk. The PayPal founder who has become a media icon as the head of electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) . With plug-in electric vehicles positioned as eco-friendly plays, it's perhaps fitting that Musk should get involved in solar energy.

We may never see a solar-powered Tesla, but at least now there will be two ways to buy into Musk's vision.

Shiny and new
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