Flash memory maker Spansion, the joint venture between Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD) and Fujitsu, appears set to sell shares to the public next week. Spansion is tentatively set to price its initial public offering on Dec. 14, with shares to be sold to the public on Dec. 15, according to people involved in the deal. The company hopes to raise roughly $622 million by selling 39 million shares of common stock to the public, priced between $16 and $18. The stock will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol SPSN. The offering would represent one of the largest IPOs of the year, and will occur during what looks like a crowded week of offerings. About 18 IPOs are scheduled for next week, as companies push to get their offerings out before the holidays. Sal Morreale, who covers IPOs for Cantor Fitzgerald, says he hasn't heard much buzz about the Spansion IPO, which is unusual for an offering of its size. "Usually, deals generate buzz and you hear about things going on," says Morreale. "This one has been relatively quiet." On the other hand, Spansion recently upped the number of shares it intends to sell to the public, a sign of demand for the stock, according to John Fitzgibbon, an analyst with IPODesktop. In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, Spansion increased the size of its proposed offering to 39.2 million shares, from the previous target of 35.3 million shares. A spokesperson for AMD said the company has not made any formal announcements regarding the timing of the IPO. Shares of AMD, which will own 40% of all outstanding shares in the independent Spansion, closed up 4.87%, or $1.25, at $26.90 Friday. Spansion makes flash memory chips, one of the hottest segments of the semiconductor industry. But it currently manufactures so-called NOR flash memory, which stores programming instructions for electronic devices, rather than the more popular NAND flash, which stores the actual data, such as MP3 music and digital photos, that people generate with the devices.
According to a recent report by the Semiconductor Industry Association, NAND sales in October grew 79% year over year, while NOR sales declined 5%. According to Spansion's registration statement, the company is developing next-generation flash memory technology that combines the advantages of NOR and NAND and is on track for commercial shipments in 2006. "We intend to develop a diverse range of products that meets the needs of a broader range of customer requirements in areas not traditionally served by Flash memory," notes a passage in the company's registration statement. The company lost $257 million in the first nine months of 2005 on sales of $1.4 billion. Proceeds of the IPO will go towards working capital, capital expenditures and general corporate purposes. The deal is being led by Citigroup and Credit Suisse Fist Boston. Spansion's offering comes on the heels of a pair of semiconductor IPOs from Chinese companies that encountered a frosty reception on Wall Street. Vimicro International ( VIMC), which sold shares to the public in October, is trading about 15% below its $10 offering price. And Actions Semiconductor's ( ACTS) shares have barely budged from the $8-a-share offering price at the end of October. In recent trading Friday, Actions shares were at $8.06.