It's just about impossible for you to get your hands on offering-price shares of
, the Palm Pilot-making
unit set for a
much anticipated initial public offering Thursday. But a startup mutual fund was quietly offering a piece of the action all week.
The $6.5 million
Investec Guinness Wireless World
, a new all-wireless sector fund,
launched Monday to little fanfare and modest sales. The new fund doesn't have a ticker symbol or much money, but it has what many investors covet -- an allocation of Palm shares at the offering price. If you bought shares of Wireless World before Wednesday's market close, you'll be in on the IPO and probably see a hefty return tomorrow.
What's the big deal? Individual investors typically get less than 20% of the average IPO's shares and an even smaller portion of deals that draw heavy interest. Demand for Palm was so high that 3Com
doubled the offering price this week (and it
priced even higher, at $38 a share, Wednesday night). The IPO shares could still triple or rocket even higher on Thursday. That could translate to a big boost for the tiny fund, depending on how many shares it gets.
Alistair Blevins, a fund marketer at Investec's U.S. office, says the fund is "confident" it will have an allocation, but won't know its exact size until Thursday. London-based portfolio manager Nigel Dutson wasn't available for comment.
The coy Blevins admits the IPO could "certainly be advantageous" for the fund. How advantageous?
If 5% of the fund is invested in the IPO -- not an outlandish estimate given the fund's modest size -- and Palm shares triple on their first day, the fund could see a 10% bump from the IPO alone, says Jonas Max Ferris, co-founder of
new Web site that focuses on new and small funds.
And when it comes to flipping Palm shares -- selling them on IPO day for a big profit -- holders of Wireless World fund shares have more flexibility than many Wall Street heavyweights who may have agreed to hold on to their shares.
Institutional investors "might not be able to flip, but you can just sell your fund shares at the end of the day," says Ferris. "Even if it's only 5% of your money, it's more than you'd ever get otherwise, and it's a lot safer than trying to buy shares in the aftermarket."
Unfortunately, the window for taking advantage of this opportunity slammed shut Wednesday night. If you buy shares of the fund on Thursday, they'll be priced at the close of trading -- after the IPO.
If you're kicking yourself, get in line. Investec's Blevins says the fund's portfolio -- currently just 20 stocks -- was posted to the firm's
Web site on Monday. Those holdings included Palm.
"It was a much better story yesterday," Ferris said Wednesday.
We'll try to report the size of the fund's Palm allocation and its one-day bump on Thursday -- if masochists are interested.
If it's any consolation, Ferris says this isn't a one-time event. Many fund shops give IPO shares to their new funds to ensure a solid track record out of the gate.