by ilene - March 19th, 2010 8:45 pm
Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
Buy that dip, Chip. Traders who are buying now are hoping (betting) that Palm becomes a takeover candidate.
In the 1990s I was actively involved in M&A in the tech sector, primarily around Boston and Silicon Valley. Boston was absolutely the worst place to try and make a decent acquisition, and few of them I witnessed worked out for the buyers.
In Silicon Valley things were a little more straightforward, but one had to watch their back with the omnivorous acquisitor, Cisco. The flippers were reasonably well known to the cognoscenti and a quick visit to the premises often was an easy ‘tell.’ The Sand Hill Road crowd and the other denizens of the Lion and Compass were always a treat to work with. Personally I preferred sushi in town followed by The Compass Rose at The Saint Francis, but I was an east coaster, and almost looking for light meal and a drink to take the edge off the jet lag.
I priced mature companies and start-ups, largely based on the potential of their technology and engineering talent, much more so than existing cash flows which were often negative and a key factor in playing the game.
Personally I think zero is too low a price for Palm. Maybe two dollars, with their float of 168 million shares. Maybe even four dollars if it catches a bid soon from more than one interested buyer who wishes to jump start into their space. One would have to look at their portfolio of technology and patents, and franchise players in the engineering group, and the value of your own currency, your stock, and its prospects.
Cash deals generally are a strong indicator of pure intent, and are therefore rare. One positive is that the tech market in the US is so bad that retention bonuses ought not to be such an issue, except for a handful of key engineering talent.
The problem with companies like this is that new money, particularly the venture capitalists and white knights, like to come in and obliterate the existing common shareholders. This is the ‘last man standing’ phenomenon.