Angie’s List faces challenges in bid to go public

Consumer review provider Angie’s List said in its filing to go public that it faces several challenges, most notably that it has lost money since its founding 16 years ago.

The Indianapolis-based company filed papers on Thursday for an initial public offering of stock, pegging the value of the offering at $75 million.

Angie’s List said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its revenue was $59 million in 2010 and $38.6 million for the first six months of 2011. Its net losses for the same periods were $27.2 million and $25.8 million, respectively. It also said it had accumulated debt of $143 million as of June 30.

The company noted that it will continue to lose money for the foreseeable future.

“We are and will continue to be faced with many competitive challenges, any of which could adversely affect our prospects, results of operations and financial condition,” Angie’s List said in the filing.

Still, it’s not unusual for a company to file for an IPO with a money-losing track record, said David Millard, chairman of Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s corporate department and an expert on IPOs.

The concern, he said, is whether recent weak market conditions will support the company’s attempt to raise $75 million.

“This will be a good barometer on the market, to see whether this [filing] gets traction,” he said. “The market, for sure, would have been much more receptive to that prior to this terror period we had a few weeks ago."

Angie’s List said in its filing that most of its recent losses are the result of increasing investment in new membership.

If revenue generated by new memberships differs significantly from company expectations, or if membership acquisition costs increase, the company may not be able to generate profits from the investment, Angie’s List acknowledged.

Angie's List said it plans to continue aggressively investing in national advertising to deepen its market penetration, particularly in New York City and Los Angeles. It also noted it is expanding into new categories. The company started by focusing on home improvement services, and now covers categories such as health and wellness services, and car restoration.

The company said that if it is unable to replicate its performance in larger markets, its operating results and financial condition will suffer.

Net proceeds from the IPO will be used to fund its advertising strategy and for general corporate purposes, the company said.

Investors could be attracted to Angie’s List on the prospect that it might become profitable if it receives a capital infusion, Millard said.

“This is a company that’s been around for a long time and has a great history,” he said. “But it’s got that challenge of the market: How skittish are investors?”
Angie’s List was founded by Angie Hicks in April 1995 as Brownstone Publishing LLC and is located at 1030 E. Washington St.

The company’s IPO announcement is the third in Indiana this year.

Indianapolis-based Allison Transmission in March said it planned to raise $750 million through a public stock sale. One week later, Pendleton-based Remy International Inc. outlined plans for a $100 million IPO.

It's been nearly two years since an Indianapolis-area company completed an initial public offering.

In December 2009, Carmel-based KAR Auction Services Inc., an auctioneer of used and salvaged vehicles, sold 25 million common shares at $12 each for total proceeds of $300 million.

Statewide, West Lafayette-based Endocyte Inc., a developer of cancer treatments, in February 2011, raised $75 million by selling 12.5 million shares at $6 each


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