October 25, 2013
Less than three years after being taken private, networking equipment vendor CommScope is once again a listed company following today's IPO of 38.46 million shares at $15 each on Nasdaq .
The company, which has had a busy week in the cable equipment market, expects to raise about $437 million from the 30.8 million shares of common stock that are being floated in the IPO, and plans to use the majority of its proceeds to pay off some of its debts. (See CommScope Seeds New CCAP With MSOs.)
The Carlyle Group LLC , which has owned the company since January 2011, is selling about 7.7 million shares, which should net it more than $100 million.
But Carlyle had its sights set on a higher price: Earlier this month the price range had been set at $18 to $21 per share.
Figure 1: Led by CEO Eddie Edwards (center), CommScope executives mark the company's IPO and first stock trading at NASDAQ on October 25. But, while laughing on the outside, they may be crying on the inside.
So why the lower price? It could be because CommScope, which supplies a wide range of fixed and wireless equipment such as cables, antennas, connectors, and cables to major operators and systems vendors, predicted in its IPO filing that its third-quarter revenues might be slightly down from a year ago at about $887 million, while its adjusted operating income (after one-time items) is expected to be down by about 3 percent compared with a year ago at about $160 million.
During the first half of 2013, CommScope's revenues were up more than 10 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, so the expected third-quarter sales represent something of a speed bump for the vendor's growth momentum and investors might have reacted to that shift.
Or it could be that investors weren't as keen as Carlyle had hoped on a company that's carrying $3 billion in debt -- hence the need to use the IPO proceeds to reduce that mountain.
What is clear, though, is that CommScope has a range of products that is well suited to a market that is centered around broadband rollouts, so it looks like a solid business that is on course to grow its full-year 2013 revenues from the $3.32 billion it generated in 2012. (See CommScope Conceals Metro Cell, CommScope Offers Support for FTTA Deployments and Ooredoo, CommScope Improve Wireless Deployment.)
And Carlyle will be doing all it can to ensure CommScope keeps pace with the market as, following the IPO, the private equity firm will still hold about 78 percent of the company's stock, while directors and employees will hold 1.35 percent and public shareholders 20.7 percent.
— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading
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