VMware (VMW) IPO Countdown Begins

The hottest software IPO of 2007 is likely just two weeks away.

VMware (VMW) has begun its official IPO roadshow, and has set tentative pricing of it’s IPO at $23 to $25 per share.  EMC will be retaining an 87% stake in the company.  The shares released to the public will be Class A shares, while EMC will retain Class B shares that have a 10:1 voting ratio to Class A shares.

That structure tells me that EMC wants to maintain control of VMware, while reserving the ability to liquidate a majority of the shares.  With that voting ratio, EMC could liquidate its stake down to just 9.1% of the company, while still maintaining control.  More details are available from 24/7 Wall Street:

The final pre-IPO range is for 33 million shares of class A common stock at an expected price range of $23.00 to $25.00.   That price can change ahead of the IPO and is not set in stone.  Book runners are Citigroup, J.P.Morgan, and Lehman; co-managers are listed as Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank.  After the offering EMC will own 26.5 million shares of Class A common stock but will own all 300 million shares of the Class B common stock, representing approximately 87% of the outstanding shares.  The rights of A & B shares are identical, except when it comes to who gets the final say: Class B shares have 10 votes, or then-times the 1 vote per share of class A common stock.

As a sign of the times, you can actually watch the entire IPO roadshow here, on the web.  The stock will begin trading as VMW, and will likely issue the week of August 13th.

There has been plenty of blog coverage of the IPO.  Here is a Google Blog Search link to the most recent articles.

EMC has already run up by over $10 Billion in market capitalization since the IPO was announced.  Not surprisingly, that is roughly in the range of the expected value of VMware.  With $289 Million in revenue in Q2 2007, VMware is on fire, growing at near triple-digit rates year-over-year.

Even if you have no interest in investing, it’s likely worth watching the roadshow if you are interested in the virtualization space.  VMware is a smart aggressive company, and they keep moving the bar higher.

Hard to believe that EMC acquired them for just $623 Million in 2004.  Now that was a good buy.

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