, which takes pictures of the earth from satellites and sells the images to armies, governments, oil companies, GPS services and
, will go public this week on the
-- and it's looking like the offering might be underpriced.
is the underwriter, and according to some observers, the bank may offer the stock at a cheaper price than demand might otherwise support, merely as a way to bolster a rather blinkered IPO market.
broadcast Monday evening, TheStreet's Jim Cramer said as much, noting that other recent IPOs followed the same pattern:
Mead Johnson Nutritional
all rose 20%, on average, the day after their IPOs. To date, they're up 43% on average.
Other observers have indicated that Digital Globe, based in Longmont, Colo., which filed for its IPO a little more than a year ago, stands to benefit from the stated goal of the Obama administration to increase the government's reliance on satellite imaging for intelligence gathering.
The company, which will take the ticker DGI, plans to sell $14.7 million shares at $16 to $18 apiece, raising $250 million. The pricing could occur as early as Wednesday, after the bell.
Digital Globe has some competition, but not much. One of the reasons Cramer likes the stock is the business' sky-high (literally) barrier to entry. The most prominent company that plays in the outer-space imaging space is
, whose shares closed Monday at $27.36, or nearly 19 times earnings. Geo EYe has boomed this year, up 42% year-to-date, though the shares have recently inched back from their 52-week high of 29.
Cramer said he believes Digital Globe is a better company than Geo Eye, and that Digital Globe shares could hit $27. Paying $20 to $22 a share to get into the IPO is a good entry point, Cramer said.
In 2008, Digital Globe earned $53 million on revenue of $275 million. In its IPO, it won't be getting much of the cash. The offering appears mostly to be a way for insiders and VC holders to exit their investments: more than 90% of the shares in the IPO are owned by existing investors.
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