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Angie’s List stock surges after shares hit market

November 17, 2011
Angie's List

Angie’s List Inc., the consumer-review website with more than 1 million paying members, surged as much as 44 percent in its trading debut Thursday after raising $114 million Wednesday in its initial public offering.

Angie’s List, trading on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol ANGI, closed the trading day up more than 25 percent, at $16.26 per share, after rising as high as $18.75 early in the morning.

The Indianapolis-based company sold 8.8 million shares for $13 apiece, according to a filing, after offering them for $11 to $13, the top of the proposed range.

The company, which provides reviews of plumbers, electricians and other service providers, follows the success of Internet peer Groupon Inc.’s IPO this month. The Chicago-based online-coupon leader raised $700 million Nov. 3, 30 percent more than it sought, after pricing the shares above the marketed range. The stock surged 31 percent in its trading debut and had gained 20 percent since the IPO as of yesterday.

“The market for entering IPOs appears to be cracking back open,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in San Francisco. “This is a good first day for a smaller-scale IPO, and that could give other companies confidence.”

The IPO price valued Angie’s List at $723 million, or about 9.2 times sales in the 12 months through September. That’s about a 67-percent premium to Google Inc., which trades at about 5.5 times trailing 12-month sales and is named as a competitor in the Angie’s List filing. Groupon, also named as competition, trades at about 12 times sales in the same period.

Groupon sold 35 million shares at $20 each. Its stock soared 31 percent, to $26.11, on its first day of trading on Nov. 4. The gains reflected rising optimism concerning IPOs after market volatility earlier this year persuaded many startups to delay initial share sales, resulting in the biggest IPO backlog since 2000.

Delphi Automotive Plc, the former auto-parts unit of General Motors Co., also completed an IPO Wednesday, raising $530 million after pricing at the lower end of its proposed range.

Angie's List unprofitable history did not scare away initial investors. The company hasn't turned an annual profit since its inception 16 years ago.

Revenue at Angie’s List increased 46 percent, to $62.6 million, in the nine months ended Sept. 30 compared with the year-earlier period, the IPO filing shows. Its net loss widened to $43.2 million from about $19 million.

The financial data on Angie's List "is not good at all, but their brand name's awareness is key," in their debut's success, Scott Sweet, managing director of research site IPOBoutique.com, told the Wall Street Journal. "This is not one in which you park money that you can't afford to lose. We're not talking about impressive numbers."

The company planned to sell about 6.3 million shares in the offering, with the remaining 2.5 million sold by existing shareholders, according to the prospectus. Battery Ventures had planned to reduce its stake to 15 percent from 18 percent, while BV Capital was paring its stake to 9.3 percent from 12 percent.

The company was started in 1995 by Angie Hicks, who was the company’s president until 1998, when she took a leave of absence to get an MBA from Harvard University. Hicks, now chief marketing officer, intended to trim her stake to 1.5 percent from 1.8 percent, the filing shows.

Angie’s List establishes new markets by offering free memberships, according to its prospectus, and begins charging fees usually within 24 months. The company had 175 paid markets as of Sept. 30, compared with 45 in January 2008.

In New York City, Angie’s List memberships cost from $3.25 to $5.20 monthly or $29 to $46.40 a year, according to the website. The company has also offered promotional discounts in partnership with Groupon. Cheryl Reed, a spokeswoman for Angie’s List, didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking information about the company’s pricing plans.

Angie’s List plans to use net proceeds from the offering to fund advertising and increase membership, the filing shows. Bank of America Corp. led the offering.
 

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