All eyes were on online restaurant reservation company Open-Table Inc. when it went public May 21. Only the seventh debut this year, the San Francisco company's shares rose 60% on their first day of trading -- the biggest first-day gain in 18 months. But will this mark an end to the IPO drought?
Most would agree that it's still too early to tell, but it's a step in the right direction, and so too for Alan Denenberg, a partner in the Menlo Park, Calif., office of Davis Polk & Wardwell. Denenberg and his team represented Merrill Lynch & Co. in its role of lead underwriter on the offering, which raised $60 million. Denenberg's name showed up in the underwriters' counsel slot on many S-1s last year before the bottom fell out of the stock market.
The last two were desalination device maker Energy Recovery Inc., which raised $69 million in its IPO, and GT Solar International Inc., which picked up $500 million. He now predicts an uptick in IPO activity, but no rush."Companies have some renewed interest, and bankers are actively pitching companies -- particularly those with a history of profitability and positive cash flow," Denenberg says, adding that he expects some of the "better companies" that have been on file for a while to come to market relatively soon. However, he predicted a delay before many new filings are made.
Working with Denenberg on the deal were Davis Polk associates Chris Pan and Caroline Perry. Partner Steven Weiner and associate Vishnu Reddy provided intellectual property advice, and partner Rachel D. Kleinberg and associate M. Ryan LaRosa provided tax counsel. All are based in Menlo Park.
OpenTable's legal team was led by Latham & Watkins LLP partner Patrick Pohlen, who was joined by associates Kathleen Wells, Connie Chen, Alvina Hsu and David Bebb on corporate matters and partner Joseph Yaffe and associates James Metz and Scott Dommes on compensation and benefits issues.Merrill's team, which got the mandate before the bank was acquired by Bank of America Corp., included managing directors Chris Gaertner and J.D. Moriarty and director Jeff Shusta. The other joint bookrunning managers were Wachovia Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley; also underwriting the IPO were Allen & Co. LLC, Citigroup Inc., Morgan Keegan & Co., RBC Capital Markets Corp. and UBS Investment Bank.