If you haven't noticed, we've been all about IPOs here on Fool.com this month (The IPO Is Back, 10 IPOs to Watch, A Sweet-Sounding IPO, IPOs: Danger Ahead?). If you're a longtime reader, this sudden infatuation may have you scratching your head. After all, when it comes to IPOs, our general counsel has always been to avoid them (The ABCs of IPOs).
As Jeff Fischer points out, the IPO market is more promising today than it has been in years. That doesn't mean you should buy into it -- that if you do, you're going to strike it rich on the next Microsoft
Buy Billy Dead
Caution remains the best advice when it comes to IPOs. And nothing hammers that home more than this: There's now an IPO for Ethan Hawke's latest movie. Civilian Capital Inc. is planning to finance the murder mystery Billy Dead by selling 900,000 shares of stock at $8.75 a pop. That's right, if you've always wanted a piece of Ethan, now's your chance. This is the next best thing to David Bowie bonds.
What you'll actually be buying is Billy Dead Inc., which was formed to make the film. The company expects to turn over all its assets to investors after the movie runs its course through the box office and video distribution channels (apparently we're not going to get a Billy Dead action figure).
If you want an education in what it takes to produce an independent film, check out the prospectus, which lays out the risks, including "the chance that the film will not raise the proceeds needed to reimburse investors, the chance that the movie could go over budget and require additional investors, and that the offering price was set without any consideration of assets, earnings, or book value and therefore might not be supported by market prices."
Credit where it's due
You have to love that -- they've warned that since they really don't know what the film might make, the share price is essentially arbitrary. Not all that different from the dot-com IPOs of the late '90s. But you have to appreciate the transparency just a little. It's something you don't always get from Hollywood. And who knows, this may turn out to be a legitimate way to raise funds for independent films.
But whether you get sucked in to support the arts or for the sheer novelty of it, don't expect to make any money. Most of the 300 or so independent films made every year don't make any scratch at all -- unless you stumble upon a breakout hit like My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Blair Witch Project, reports CNN.
Still, you have to credit Hawke, who is Billy Dead's executive producer, for thinking outside the box. It's a great idea -- or a great gimmick. I'm not sure which. But, hey, if Ethan can IPO himself and David Bowie can sell bonds backed by his future earnings, what about me? I have no doubt I am destined for stardom. Do you want to get in on it?
My modest proposal
Here's the deal: I am going public. Want a piece of all my future earnings? Send me a check today! I am floating 500,000 shares at a mere $1 apiece. How can you go wrong? So cheap! Such a bargain.
Send me the cash, I'll send you the stock certificate. Whatever you do, be sure to get in on the ground floor. This is IPO mania, baby, just like 1998 all over again! This stock is gonna rocket out of the gate for sure. I bet it'll close at $10 on its first day of trading. Get in on a ten-bagger now!
I have a lot going for me. Why settle for a safe, yet paltry rate on a certificate of deposit when you can walk on the wild side with me and get rich? Just do it. Buy, buy, buy!
Bob Bobala's IPO is not endorsed by The Motley Fool or anyone affiliated with The Motley Fool or anyone The Motley Fool has ever known. In fact, if you send him money, we'll deny he works here and probably fire him. Full disclosure: The Motley Fool still says you should never jump into an IPO or ANY stock just because some wise guy told you to. Don't be a fool with a small "f."