IPO is lost in outer space.
The tech company pulled the plug on its $108 million initial public offering late Friday. In a letter filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
, the manufacturer of radio-frequency identification technology says it has decided not "to proceed with the registration and sale of its common stock at this time."
reported on Friday that Alien's initial public offering
ran into trouble last week. Sources said
, the underwriter handling the offering, had allocated shares to interested investors in expectation of selling shares to the public. But after the allocation, the deal failed to price.
It is unusual for an IPO to get that far in the process yet fail to bring the shares to market.
In the filing withdrawing the IPO, Alien Tech offered no reason for its decision. But
columnist John Bradshaw Layfield, a private investor in Alien Tech, says the company told him the weak stock environment led them to kill the deal. However, Layfield, in a
recent column, says he's not buying that rationale.
"Alien and its underwriter, Bear Stearns, were the ones that chose to debut in August, a very bad month," said Layfield in a column over the weekend. "I can understand why they blamed it on the market; I wouldn't want to debut right now, either. But I don't believe it."
Beyond Alien, the IPO market will be tested this week with two other high-profile public offerings. Evercore, the boutique investment bank started by former deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, will be selling shares to the market later this week. Analysts are skeptical about Evercore's IPO performance, due to the poor performance of rival investment bank
But those who have met Evercore's management in recent weeks are expecting the IPO to go over well. The deal's boosters say that Evercore's roster of blue-chip clients position the company better than Cowen, which tends to advise smaller clients. This year, Evercore has advised a handful of large deals, including
on its pending sale of finance unit GMAC and
on its pending acquisition of
Meanwhile, vitamin retailer GNC is also expected to price its IPO later this week.