If you read my fellow Fool Tim Beyers' column on Friday, you're probably already a little leery of investing in soon-to-trade Buy.com
That's exactly what Buy.com did last week. After holding the line on pricing for a full month, Buy.com finally caved in and cut its offering price Friday. Back in November, the company was thinking it could unload its shares on the public at $11 to $13 per stub. Now reality has set in, and with it, a new and improved price of $8.
With nearly 4.2 million shares up for grabs and another 625,000 available to the company's underwriters as an "over-allotment" option, the discounted offering price looks capable of netting Buy.com as much as $38.3 million cash (of which, as Tim also observed, $9.6 million looks likely to be promptly handed over to Buy.com founder Scott Blum in repayment of his loans to the company).
Incidentally, the 4.8 million shares expected to float this week will constitute almost 25% of the 18.9 million shares of "common stock to be outstanding after this offering," noted in the firm's S-1 filing with the SEC. That makes calculating this company's putative market cap a breeze: 4 * $38.3 million equals roughly $153 million.
This is important to know, because it lets us take the next step and work a few numbers to see just how fair a price Buy.com is asking us to pay for its equity. According to the S-1, Buy.com has posted $322 million in revenues over the past four quarters, but no operating or net profits. Which again makes things simple: We can't value this company on the basis of earnings that it doesn't have, so we'll check its price-to-sales ratio against those of its competitors.
At a P/S ratio of 0.48, Buy.com sure does look cheap. Compare it to the 1.0 P/S sported by competitor Overstock
But looks can be deceiving. Before doing what the company's name urges, this Fool would advise that you first take a good hard look at the S-1 filing. Note the less-than-spectacular revenue growth (15% barely gets a yawn on the Internet). Note how the spiffed-up income statement shows a declining net loss year to date, in relation to the first nine months of last year. And then note how that decline is belied by the 130% increase in the firm's negative free cash flow over the same period.
Beware this IPO, folks. Some things are cheap for a reason.
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Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article.