It's been eight months in coming, but the long-awaited initial public offering of Fujitsu's and AMD's (NYSE:AMD) Spansion (NASDAQ:SPSN) joint venture has arrived.

Flash memory maker Spansion began its IPO quest in April. On the advice of underwriters Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CSR), it initially planned to float 39.2 million shares, priced somewhere between $16 and $18. Last week, Spansion shaved 21% off of that range, dropping it to $13 to $14; then dropped it a further 11% to $12, in what Renaissance Capital's described as a "sign of weak demand." (Strange, that. It's only logical that Spansion would drop its price if it felt demand for its shares was weak; but at the same time it was discounting the price, Spansion was increasing the number of shares to be floated, to 42.2 million.)

According to the firm's IPO prospectus, issuing these shares grossed $506.4 million, of which $30.4 million went immediately into the pockets of the underwriters (6% -- about the same amount you lose every time you sell your house).

From investors' perspective, the IPO has to be called a success. As you might expect, by clipping 33% off of the shares' initial price tag, the underwriters gave Spansion's shares considerable room to move "upwards" once they began trading. Early on Friday, they even came close to breaking out of the first-reduced price range of $14, and by day's end sat dead center within it, at $13.55, netting those who got in at the ultimate IPO price a 12.9% gain.

Given the shares' upward momentum (even if artificially created), it seems likely that the underwriters will decide to exercise their full overallotment option (the right to buy themselves extra shares at the reduced $12 price, in hopes of reselling them for the market price). That would gross another $60.8 million for Spansion, add another 5.1 million shares to the float, and leave us with a float of about 47.3 million shares, out of 95.8 million shares outstanding.

At Friday's closing price, Spansion now has a market cap of about $1.3 billion. At that valuation, with $1.9 billion in trailing 12 months' sales, the company has a relatively cheap price-to-sales ratio of 0.68. Investors need to ask themselves, though, whether that discount suffices to make Spansion, which isn't profitable and has negative free cash flow, a better buy than the profitable chipmakers: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), with a P/S of 4.19; Micron (NYSE:MU), with one of 1.72; and Freescale (NYSE:FSL), at 1.88.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article.