Wednesday, September 27, 2006

xG IPO = cojones de acero

A friend and pre-RSS EuroTelcoblog mega-uber value reader (that's unnecessary repetition - all mega-uber value readers are friends!) has kindly forwarded me an IPO marketing note from xG Technology's house broker, Hichens, Harrison & Co. I have just started reading, and my initial reaction is "Whoa, baby!" The cover features a nice Photoshop mash-up picture of Che Guevara apparently talking on a mobile phone - a sense of humor in an IPO? We like it. Among the claims of interest made in the investment summary:
  • Sprint/Nextel's >$3bn WIMAX investment contrasts poorly with xG's claimed ability to give full US coverage for $15m (this is not a typo, that's 99.5% discount folks);
  • to justify the $650 - 700m valuation: "...over the two years of the forecast period, xG need only achieve a roll out of 500 base stations at 20% capacity to achieve our numbers; it already has LOIs (letters of intent) indicating demand of $20m, the equivalent of demand for 400 base stations.";
  • "On a reverse DCF model, on the basis that bid interest from established participants needing to cover their technology bets is likely, and on the grounds that the shares will represent a "hedged option" equivalent in any clients' portfolios exposed to the telecoms sector, we suggest that xG's shares are the only genuinely compelling investment we have seen in years."

I have to say, the last quote is fairly incendiary phrasing for a broker intimately involved in the IPO. That is a trivial concern, however. What really matters is the gap between presentation and reality. For a company to come to market with such a punchy story without substance would be a totally unnecessary, suicidal act, particularly when the amounts of money to be raised (£30m) look so trivial relative to the disruptive potential. So, we must give the company the benefit of the doubt - or is that part of a head-fake? This is going to be a fascinating deal to watch.

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