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投资理财

Twitter高价上市暗藏投资风险

Shawn Tully 2013年11月13日

Twitter上市首日,股价从发行价26美元开始飙升,收盘超过了45美元。假设投资者要求投资年回报率为10%,那么到2020年底,Twitter的市值必须从目前的约250亿美元增加到500亿美元,首日交易中买入Twitter股票的投资者才能赚到钱。

Twitter公司的上市令人震惊地表明,投资业一些最让人困惑的做法又故伎重演,充分发威了。这两者都是市场泡沫的标志,而市场低迷的时候它们却往往销声匿迹。第一个就是华尔街最喜欢的IPO手法,它让银行和机构投资者赚得盆满钵满,却将客户置于不利地位。2012年它们搞砸了Facebook的上市,那只紧攫着上市公司的手才有所放松。但现在银行又重新掌控了大局,只消一天就能赚到大钱,此情此景让人回想起2000年和2001年的光景。现在我们又落在它们手上了!

第二个就是投资者对充满魅力的科技股热情高涨,致使新公司刚上市就估值惊人。在科技股热潮中,对多数IPO来说这个法则并不适用。但现在它却在Twitter身上体现得淋漓尽致。

就IPO而言,新股发行成功与否主要取决于目标。如果目标是制造轰动效应,让分析师和电视主持人争相追捧,那么成为一个大家竞相追逐的大热门就算“成功”。这种追捧可能提升品牌,吸引那些矢志效忠、感激涕零的机构投资者。如果管理层的观念比较传统,认为IPO就该是一种融资手段,主要是帮助公司以最低代价筹措最多资金,由此使市值最大化并获得增长所需要的资本,那么上市首日就让股价飞涨就很不合适了。

如果Twitter本来的目标是最大限度筹措资金,那昨天它距离这个目标可谓相距甚远。在上市过程中,它倒是把一笔意外横财拱手送给了投资银行家及其主要由机构投资者构成的客户。这笔横财是IPO真正的“成本”。Twitter共有七个承销商,包括摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)、高盛公司(Goldman Sachs)和美国银行(Bank of America)等。它们在股票上市前以26美元的定价卖出了7000万股,帮Twitter募到了17.6亿美元,而银行从中赚到了5900万美元。

Twitter上市当天,股市低迷,但Twitter的股价却一路飙升,涨了18.74美元。投资者一下子赚了13.25亿美元。Twitter的招股说明书透露,投资银行有权以26美元的发行价购买1050万股。如果这些承销商真的行使了这项令人难以置信的权利,那这七家银行昨天一举就赚了1.99亿美元。它们另外还赚了300万美元的承销费,从而让华尔街的总收益达到了惊人的2.61亿美元。

Twitter总共留在“桌面上”的金额达到了15.24亿美元,其中13.25亿美元来自首轮IPO,1.99亿美元是第二轮付给银行的钱。总共算下来,Twitter募集了20.3亿美元(其中17.6亿美元来自第一轮上市,2.7亿美元来自分给华尔街的费用)。因此,它为了募到20亿美元,付出了约15亿美元,实际费用占比达到了75%。无需多怪,华尔街从来就是这么让人瞠目结舌。

那么,投资者从这场市场大肆庆祝的IPO中好好赚点钱的机会在哪儿呢?从Twitter的公开市值中是没法了解它今后能赚多少钱的,但这个数字却提供了关于它必须赚多少钱的严格衡量标准。从2010年至今,Twitter的总亏损已超过4亿美元。而它现在的市值几乎有250亿美元之巨。让我们假设投资者要求这一明显是充满风险的投资年回报率为10%,那么到2020年底,Twitter的市值必须达到500亿美元才能真正让昨天这些投资者获得回报。

让我们进一步假设,在未来七年中,Twitter始终能保持25的市盈率。要实现这一目标,它每年的净收益必须达到20亿美元。随后我们可以预测,在达到这样的高点之后,Twitter五年后的市盈率逐步下降到仍算惊人的18。这样一来,到2025年Twitter每年的净收益必须达到40亿美元。就算营业毛利率只有30%,它的销售收入也要有约180亿美元才行。

不可能预测昨天这些投资者的选择是否正确。以前曾有些明星科技公司甚至到达过更高的估值水平。我们所知道的是,如果Twitter已将13.5亿美元变成资产负债表上的现金,而不是把它用于IPO,它就会有更多的钱来经营自己的业务(而其市值也会再多出10亿美元)。

Twitter是家令人振奋的创新公司,但它的IPO遵循的却是华尔街最引以为豪的传统手法。(财富中文网)

译者:清远

Twitter's debut as a public company stunningly illustrates that two of the most baffling customs in the investment business are back in full force. Both are hallmarks of frothy markets that typically retreat in tough times. The first is Wall Street's preferred IPO process that enriches the banks and institutional investors but penalizes their clients. That grip weakened with the botched Facebook (FB) offering in 2012. Now the banks are back in control, engineering one-day gains reminiscent of 2000 and 2001. Here we go again.

The second is investors' enthusiasm for glamorous tech offerings, resulting in gigantic opening valuations for newly minted companies. The math didn't work for most of the IPOs during the tech craze. Nor does it work well with Twitter (TWTR).

On the IPO, judging whether an offering is successful or not depends on the objective. If the goal is to generate buzz and kudos from analysts and TV anchors, then a huge pop may spell "success." The pop may enhance the brand and attract grateful institutional investors who pledge to remain loyal. If management takes the traditional view that an IPO should serve as a financing event in which the company raises the most money at the least cost, thereby maximizing its market value and capital for growth, then a soaring price on day one is far from desirable.

Yesterday, Twitter garnered far less money than if its goal were to maximize cash in its coffers. In the process, it handed a windfall to both the investment bankers and their mainly institutional clients. Call the windfall the real "cost" of the IPO. Twitter's seven underwriters, a group that includes Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), and Bank of America (BAC), sold 70 million shares at a fixed price of $26 prior to the stock's debut. Those sales raised $1.76 billion for Twitter, after the banks' fees of $59 million.

Twitter's shares soared in a terrible market yesterday, rising $18.74. Hence, investors made a gain of $1.325 billion. That's not the entire story. Twitter's offering statement discloses that the investment banks have the right to purchase 10.5 million shares at the offering price of $26. Assuming the underwriters exercised that fabulous option, those seven banks booked combined gains of $199 million yesterday. They also pocketed another $3 million in fees, bringing Wall Street's total take to $261 million.

In total, Twitter left $1.524 billion "on the table," the $1.325 billion from the original IPO allotment, and the $199 million on the second tranche awarded to the banks. All told, Twitter raised $2.03 billion ($1.76 tranche from the first tranche and $270 million from the Wall Street allotment). Hence, it paid around $1.5 billion to raise $2 billion, an effective fee of 75%. No wonder Wall Street never ceases to amaze.

So what's the chance that investors will profit handsomely from this celebrated IPO? Twitter's opening market value tells you nothing about how much money it will earn. But it provides a strict measure of what it has to earn. Since 2010, Twitter has booked combined losses of over $400 million. Its market cap now stands at almost $25 billion. Let's say investors demand a 10% annual return on what is clearly a risky investment. So by the end of 2020, Twitter would need a valuation of $50 billion to really reward yesterday's investors.

Let's further assume that Twitter boasts a premium 25 price-to-earnings multiple in seven years. To get there, it would need net earnings of $2 billion a year. Then we'll forecast that after making that high hurdle, Twitter experiences a gradual decline in its multiple to a still formidable 18 five years later. Hence, by 2025, Twitter would need to earn $4 billion a year. Even assuming a 30% operating margin, its sales would have to rise to the $18 billion range.

It's impossible to predict if yesterday's investors were right. A few tech stars have indeed climbed hills that are even steeper. We do know that if Twitter had put the $1.35 billion into cash on its balance sheet rather than effectively spent it on the IPO, it would have a lot more money to spend on building its business (and its market cap would be over $1 billion higher).

Twitter is an exciting new company. Its IPO was conducted according to Wall Street's most prized traditions.

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