An earlier version of this story was published at 5:30 p.m.
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, the online grocery store whose $300-million-plus initial public offering ended up in the frozen-foods section last week, refiled its IPO documents Tuesday with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
. The high-profile company's lawyers apparently feel that the details it shared on its aborted road show with institutional investors -- but not with the general public in its
registration statement -- are material after all. The evidence of their considered opinion is that each and every one of those details, disclosed in
this column last week, can now be found in Webvan's amended federal filing.
The chastened company warned investors that there will continue to be a heap of publicity piled on its offering that is beyond Webvan's control. Webvan advises investors that there's only one place to get the full scoop on its IPO: in its prospectus filed with the SEC. About time. Here are those enhanced facts, as previously reported and as clarified:
Webvan guesses that each of its ultimately 26 distribution centers, operating "at its designed capacity seven days per week," would generate $300 million in annual revenue, assuming an average order size of $103. But there's more. Average order size to date has been about $71, and the company cautions that average order size would need to increase by more than $30 to achieve its rosy projections.
The company also duly notes, for the first time in its filings, that its performance stats -- 900 employees per distribution facility, 12% targeted operating margins and real estate costs of less than 1% of revenue -- compare favorably with the 18 supermarkets it would take to generate $300 million in revenue. Those requiring, namely: 2,700 employees, 4% operating margins and real estate costs of 4% to 6% of revenue.
Webvan updates prospective investors about its planned rollout of distribution centers beyond its current facility serving the San Francisco Bay area and a targeted center in the Atlanta area. According to its prospectus, it aims to open distribution centers "in the Chicago and Seattle markets later in 2000, as well as seven additional distribution centers in 2001." Where else might those markets be? The prospectus offers some answers: "We recently signed leases for sites in Springfield, Virginia; Grapevine, Texas; Carol Stream, Illinois and Kent, Washington on which we plan to construct distribution centers that will serve the metropolitan areas of the District of Columbia, Dallas, Chicago and Seattle, respectively," it says, meaning that Dallas and Washington, D.C., will follow Seattle and Chicago. Webvan likely didn't want to let its competitors know about those cities just yet. The upside to being a public company is the easy money, the downside is disclosing your plans to all who'll listen.
Webvan says it now has 21,000 customers, up from the 16,000 it previously reported as of Aug. 31. And it has indeed achieved 99% on-time delivery, at least from mid-August to mid-September. For its first four months of operation, on-time delivery was 92%.
The company sheds new light on its exclusive arrangements with
, its contractor for the distribution facilities, as well as
, the maker of Webvan's carousels at its centers. Both have agreed not to do business with "any other entity operating in a number of Internet retail segments." And as reported, Webvan has made a "minority equity investment" in Diamond Phoenix.
Webvan also disclosed the detailed revenue and net loss estimates of underwriter
, including revenue of $518.2 million in 2001 and losses of $302 million that same year. The company makes it clear in its filing that these are Goldman's estimates, not its own.
Whatever. Where do investors really think analysts get their data if not from the company? Sharing with institutional investors the underwriters' analysts' estimates is standard operating procedure at a roadshow. One investment banker told me this week that it's common for investors to call up the analyst afterwards to ask specific questions about his or her financial model. This is a prime example of why the SEC should either allow companies and their underwriters to share this sort of information with the public, or get them to knock off the funny business behind closed doors.
Finally: Webvan notes that this column wasn't the only item that got the start-up into hot water with the SEC. It quotes at length the bullish comments "attributed" to new CEO George Shaheen in the Oct. 18 issue of
It's unclear when Webvan will try again to complete its offering. A company spokesman declined to comment on the timing of the deal -- or anything else for that matter. But its quick comeback to the SEC suggests Webvan's 25-million-share offering at a target price of between $11 and $13 remains headed for the cash register. And this time public investors will have just about the same information as every other investor.
Back to School
Raise your hands if you've yearned to attend a college class or two to spice up your life but you just don't have the time. You know, study the
Lost Generation poets, or get calculus right the second time around.
, the famed venture capitalist with
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
in Menlo Park, apparently has the time. He's auditing a course on macroeconomics at
this semester. The professor is
, noted for his theories on how information is driving the economy in breathtakingly new ways and also a pal of Doerr's.
"John is taking the course out of personal interests, and he's just delighted that he can get in there to audit the class," says Angela Valles, the powerful gatekeeper at Kleiner Perkins (she's well-known to anyone who's ever tried to get face or phone time with the VC). He often answers his own email, but not this time.
It seems, however, that Doerr is causing something of a ruckus. According to one person who's friendly with someone in Romer's class, the man responsible for funding
, among many other start-ups, is getting a fair amount of attention. "Everyone's looking at him all the time trying to figure out what the hell he's doing there," reports my Stanford mole.
For his part, Professor Romer -- something of a media hound himself when it comes to his economic theories -- says it is his policy never to comment about the people in his classes.
A friend of Doerr's says it's simply part of the powerful VC's efforts to lead a more balanced life.
Adam Lashinsky's column appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Lashinsky writes a column for Fortune called the Wired Investor, and is a frequent commentator on public radio's Marketplace program. He welcomes your feedback at