There are two trends that have defined the equity markets in 2020.
The first is the rise of the public debut. Led by notable IPOs and the new kid on the block -- special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) -- new stocks have mostly found a strong reception in the markets. In a three-month period, the United States produced three of the top 10 largest U.S. technology-related IPOs ever: AirBnB, DoorDash, and Snowflake.
The second is the stay-at-home trend. Stocks like Zoom Video Communications, which helped the workforce better work (and play) remotely, have been big winners during the pandemic.
If there were a company that neatly fit in the intersecting space of the circles creating a Venn diagram of these two trends, it's enterprise management specialist Jamf Holding Corp. (JAMF -4.30%), which IPO'd on July 22 through a SPAC acquisition.
Despite having these two positive tailwinds, however, Jamf's performance in the public markets since July has been disappointing. What's going on with the company?
Guilty by association?
From all respects, Jamf had all the hallmarks of a successful debut. The day before its SPAC IPO, the company announced it would offer 18 million shares at a price of $26 per share. Both figures were significantly higher than the 16 million shares at $18 per share (midpoint) planned the week prior. Despite the larger float, the market was receptive to the offering and bid shares up to $39.20 by the day's close.
This was not only a win for Jamf, but also for Vista Equity, which had purchased a majority equity stake in 2017. Immediately following the offering, the private equity firm owned 63% of Jamf's common stock. In the IPO filing, the first risk factor related to stock ownership outlined that Vista controls Jamf and its interests might conflict with the company or other shareholders in the future.
Well, that happened -- kind of. In October, Vista founder and CEO Robert Smith admitted to tax evasion, signing a non-prosecution agreement that included paying back approximately $140 million in taxes, interest, and penalties. While it's important to note Jamf was not indicated in any wrongdoing, the fear Vista might have to reduce its stake significantly and quickly has hung over the stock performance.
Jamf still has an appealing story
It's important that investors take a step back and look at the big picture: While Jamf's performance has been disappointing thus far, the long-term story remains intact. As the reference standard for Apple (AAPL -0.91%) enterprise management, Jamf's long-term trends are still bullish.
First, the work-from-home environment is not changing anytime soon as vaccine bottlenecks will likely prevent full work return for a year. However, even after businesses "return to normal," it's likely that most will continue to embrace a work-from-anywhere approach as the cost savings and talent sourcing have been a boon to businesses both large and small.
Secondly, Apple will continue to focus on bringing its devices to the enterprise, looking to win share from Microsoft-based devices. Apple has been aggressive in partnerships with IBM, Cisco, and even General Electric to expand its footprint. Jamf has been a beneficiary of Apple's growth in the enterprise, with a client list that includes eight of the top 10 largest U.S. companies and 24 out of the top 25 most valuable global companies.
Unfortunately, there's little Jamf can do in the short run to convince investors who are skittish about Vista, but this is a short-term concern. If Jamf continues to execute and tell the long-term story, investors will eventually see its value. It's a good idea to keep this stock on your watchlist and monitor any developments closely.