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As We Close in on the Alibaba IPO, Here's What You Need to Watch For

It isn’t often that a really “hot” initial public stock offering lives up to the pre-deal hype.

But Thursday’s IPO of China e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE-WI: BABA) is shaping up to be everything the most ardent market mavens have been saying.

Alibaba is on track to become the largest U.S. initial public offering ever.

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    Zynga IPO Flop Proves Social Media Listings Are Still Suspect


    A strong debut by Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA) today (Friday) could have redeemed the tarnished reputation of social media companies. Instead, the online game-maker became the latest addition to salvage yard full of over-hyped social media companies that didn't live up to the promise of their initial listings.

    After debuting at $10 a share, Zynga stock tumbled 7.75% to $9.25 in just four short hours of trading.

    Money Morning Capital Waves Strategist Shah Gilani wasn't surprised.

    "I don't particularly like the position the company's in. It's got a lot of competition at its heels and I'm not sure about the valuation of the stock," he said on Fox Business' "Varney & Co." program this morning. "I think there's a lot of hype in the social media space."

    Indeed, Zynga's failure follows in the footsteps of Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P), LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD), and Groupon Inc. (Nasdaq: GRPN).

    But that's not all.

    Here's what Zynga's initial public offering (IPO) means to investors going forward:

    • Zynga will set the tone for 2012: The tech IPO market this year has fizzled, and was in desperate need of a spark that Zynga didn't provide. This is an undesirable lead-in for Facebook Inc., which is expected to debut in the second quarter of 2012. It might also hurt Yelp! Inc., the business review site that filed for an IPO on Nov. 17.
    • It could influence future tech-IPO overpricing: Zynga drastically scaled back its initial pricing by more than 50% since July, when it was valued at $20 billion. Tech IPOs priced earlier in the year received a barrage of criticism for overpricing, but there's been much less of the same talk surrounding Zynga's range of $8.50 to $10. If it fails to close above $10 a share today, future tech IPOs may rethink their strategies.
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  • A Tech IPO Bellwether: What to Watch as Zynga Stock Starts Trading Social-gaming giant Zynga Inc. starts trading today (Friday), capping off a rocky year for tech initial public offerings (IPOs). A strong performance from Zynga stock today and into the New Year would shed the "bubble" reputation surrounding the sector in 2011.

    Here's what you need to know about this latest tech IPO:

    • Zynga will set the tone for 2012: The tech IPO market this year has fizzled, and could use a spark. Zynga could provide one. Scott Sweet of IPO Boutique told clients in an e-mail Wednesday morning there was more investor interest in Zynga than available shares. A strong debut for Zynga stock would be a good lead-in for Facebook Inc., which is expected to debut in the second quarter of 2012. It might also help Yelp! Inc., the business review site that filed for an IPO on Nov. 17. Finally, it might even subdue talk that tech is doomed for a second dot-com bubble.
    • It's Facebook-dependent: Zynga's growth is tied directly to Facebook. It generates a whopping 95% of its revenue through the social networking site, and that's not going to change anytime soon. While the relationship is an incredible revenue boost for Zynga, it's also a huge investor concern. If the business relationship soured, Zynga's revenue stream would dry up immediately.

      Still, this dependence could give Zynga stock a boost, in that investors eager to profit from Facebook's growth can do so with the social gamer.

      Zynga's contract with Facebook isn't up for review until 2015, giving Zynga three years to develop new revenue sources and decrease its Facebook dependence - if it proves detrimental. The company plans to push its product toward high-growth Asian markets.
    • It could mark the end of drastic tech-IPO overpricing: Zynga has drastically scaled back its initial pricing by more than 50% since July, when it was valued at $20 billion. Tech IPOs priced earlier in the year received a barrage of criticism for overpricing, but there's been much less of the same talk surrounding Zynga's adjusted range.

      BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield recommended participating in the IPO in the $8.50 to $10 range, and said even at the higher end he thinks it could yield up to a 50% return for investors within a year. Greenfield said the lower IPO price range favors investors and expects the company's revenue to grow by about 45% over the next two years.
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  • Facebook & Goldman Sachs: Don't Be Fooled by a Facebook IPO If you missed Google, should you bet on Facebook? We don't think so.

    Facebook will IPO. And it will IPO soon. The company may have no choice if the SEC gets a hold of its records. But that doesn't mean it will be a good stock to buy.

    Facebook is the most visited Web site in the world. Its founder just had a successful movie made from his life. And rumors about the company's IPO potential have investors and their financial advisors drooling.

    Yes, Facebook is popular. But none of those things means the company can make any money. And Goldman's nearly half-a-billion dollar investment in the social network isn't the... Read More...