The IPO market isn't exactly barreling into May. As was the case last week, the coming days will see only a handful of issues making their debuts. The total volume, however, will be significantly higher. This is largely due to the flotation of a big financial, Ares Management, which stands to take in roughly $400 million from its issue.
This dwarfs our second title of the week, restaurant franchiser Papa Murphy's. That company is poised to raise up to $75 million or so when it dishes up its IPO.
Before we take a closer look at either company, we have to issue our standard public service announcement: IPO investing carries above-average risk, as initial stock prices can be far from the value the market eventually puts on the company's shares. This situation provides great upside potential, but it also carries the risk of losing a big chunk of your investment.
With that out of the way, let's move on to our contenders for the week.
One of the better-known companies in the business-development segment, Ares Capital (NASDAQ:ARCC), is actually an offshoot of this sprawling asset-management firm that focuses on alternative financing. Ares Management has taken quite some time to come to market -- it was founded in 1997. Time has fattened it up pretty well; The company's assets under management snowballed from about $5 billion in 2003 to $74 billion last year, and it's been consistently profitable in recent years.
Ares Management's IPO is set for Friday, and the company's ownership units should trade under the ticker symbol ARES on the New York Stock Exchange. Just over 18 million units are to be sold at $21 to $23 apiece, and the lead underwriters are JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) unit J.P. Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Papa Murphy's Holdings
Want some pizza? If so, this daddy is happy to oblige. The company operates a chain of restaurants that totaled 1,400-plus outlets at the end of 2013 -- a number it claims is over 20 times the size of its nearest competitor. What sets Papa Murphy's apart from the usual pizza joint is that it's a "take 'n' bake" operation, in which customers build raw pies from a selection of ingredients and then take them home to eat. The company's revenue is more or less evenly split between its franchised outlets and its directly owned stores. Total revenue has grown admirably over the past few years, although the bottom line remains slightly in the red.
Slightly more than 5.8 million shares of the company will be floated on Friday, at a price of $11 to $13 per share. The underwriting consortium is led by Baird, Leucadia's (NYSE:JEF) Jefferies, and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) Securities. Papa Murphy's Holdings will trade on the Nasdaq, with its stock bearing the ticker symbol FRSH.