NORTH BAY — Notable North Bay companies have raised more than $230 million through forays into the public stock market in recent months, with Petaluma’s Cyan (NYSE: CYNI) the latest to complete an initial public offering.
The period is one of the most active for North Bay IPOs since the days when Sonoma County was a known hub for tech ventures and carried the moniker of “Telecom Valley,” according to regional leaders in economic development and analysis.
Those leaders noted that the current regional business climate is quite different from the early years of the new millennium. Yet as job and economic growth continues in the North Bay, the tens of millions of dollars flowing to some regional employers could mean additional fuel for the recovering economy.
“It’s an indication that we have companies that are ready to grow,” said Ben Stone, director of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. “Everybody was doing IPOs a few years ago. That kind of died off. As the economy improves, we’d expect to see more of these.”
Cyan, which develops equipment to optimize networks for Internet service providers and large data centers, raised $88 million by offering 8 million shares to investors on May 9. It was an upward revision from the $75 million that the company first expected to raise, and its stock ended the day trading up 14 cents from the initial $11 per share, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The funding, according to the company’s filing, will be used as working capital and to finance possible acquisitions. Cyan also announced plans to hire additional marketing and engineering staff this year, adding to a current total of 219 employees. The company had 29 employees at the end of 2008.
Revenue was $95.9 million in 2012, up from $40.4 million in 2011 and $23.5 million in 2010, according to the filing.
Menawhile, the formerly named Corte Madera-based Restoration Hardware returned to public markets under the new brand “RH” in November 2012. RH (NYSE: RH), a luxury home furnishing retailer dealer that is also expanding into other retail, raised $142.5 million in its new IPO, with shares up 30 percent in the first day of trading. Proceeds from the IPO were planned to pay down a line of credit with Bank of America, according to a company filing.
Other recent public offerings in the North Bay include the $62 million raised for Petaluma’s Enphase (NASDAQ: ENPH), a developer of technology to improve efficiency of solar photovoltaic systems, in April 2012. Also in Petaluma, telecommunications equipment developer Calix (NYSE: CALX) raised $82.3 million in March of 2010.
Truett-Hurst, a Healdsburg-based custom and private-label vintner, also has announced plans to raise up to $23.6 million in an IPO later this year. The company had formerly announced plans to raise up to $45 million.
While the recent IPO activity could reflect a more broadly churning economy in the North Bay, those actions should be looked at on a case-by-case basis while considering any implications for the regional business climate, said Dr. Robert Eyler, an expert in North Bay economics and founder of the executive MBA program at Sonoma State University.
“It is good news — it shows some growth in the ways companies are getting financing,” said Dr. Eyler. “We’re seeing technology, business and job growth in the North Bay. It’s not a shocker that it’s happening. The question is — what will they do next?”
Meanwhile, IPO activity has been on the uptick nationally, riding growth in equity markets and a growing investor appetite for risk.
While fewer companies have gone public across the different markets to date this year — 69, versus 79 between January and mid-May in 2012 — those offerings are looking to raise more capital on both a per-company and absolute basis, according to IPO data for all markets from the NASDAQ.
Companies looked to raise $16.8 billion to date in 2013, versus $12.2 billion during the same period last year. That was equivalent to an average of approximately $244 million per IPO this year, compared to $155 million. The calculation excludes the public offering of Facebook on May 18, which sought to raise more than $16 billion.
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