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Last week was a big week in equity syndicate.

I'm laughing at the way that sounds because it's been such a long time since I've been able to say that. It's true, though. I count 11 deals that got done, three of them IPOs. It's one thing to print a lot of business. It's altogether another for the buyers of that business to make money by participating. Last week was definitely a money maker. Let's recap the deals.

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The week started with a huge (100 million shares) IPO from blue-chip insurer

Principal Financial Group

(PFG) - Get Principal Financial Group, Inc. Report

. I liked this deal very much but wasblown away by the $2.50 premium (that's 13.5%) it garnered in its first session. Think about it, that's a quarter of a billion dollars in market cap created in the open market in one day. To me that spells pure demand. Principal set the tone for the rest of the week, and I scrambled to raise my opinionson the remaining deals. Looking back, I'm glad I did.

Shares of

Cross Country

(CCRN) - Get Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. Report


Penn Virginia ResourcePartners


both turned in solid numbers on the day of their IPOs. Cross Country was up more than 19%, and Penn Virginia Resource rewarded buyers of its deal with a cool 8% popover issue. I know, these aren't as sexy as the scorchingly hot IPOs of thedot-com era, but hey, we live in a different world now, right? From whereI'm sitting, a 10% or 15% return on a flipped deal is just fine.

This week there are four IPOs scheduled to price, but the truth is that there are really only three. I say this because in my heart I don't believe that

TheStreet Recommends

Universal Hospital Services

(proposed symbol UHOS:Nasdaq) will get done. I may be wrong about this, but it doesn't look that way.

The deal I'm most looking forward to is the demutualization of


(proposed symbol ATH:NYSE). Anthem is a big Blue Crossoperator based in Indiana. The company is offering 40 million shares at aprice range of $33 to $37. The balance sheet is a killer, and my sense is thatthere is every bit as much demand for this one as there was for PFG lastweek. Look for a solid multipoint premium right out of the box.

Two other names on the calendar this week are


(proposed symbol LGVN:Nasdaq) and

Odyssey HealthCare

(proposed symbol ODSY:Nasdaq). Both deals appear to be in good shape, and I expect a decent performance from the pair.

Remember, the end of the year is on us, and for the most part, the investment banking firms have had a lousy 2001. I'm betting that the calendar stays strong through December as these firms hustle to post a strong fourth quarter.

To get details on these deals as they price, tune into

Columnist Conversation early in the morning. Have a great week.

Ben Holmes is the founder of, a Boulder, Colo.-based research boutique (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of specializing in the analysis of equity syndicate offerings. This column is not meant as investment advice; it is instead meant to provide insight into the methods of new and secondary offerings. Neither Holmes nor his firm has entered indications of interest in any of the companies discussed in this column. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Holmes appreciates your feedback and invites you to send it to

Ben Holmes.