Barracuda Search co-founder and joint managing director Jamie Zuppinger is staggered by the valuations of recent retail IPOs
There is an almost indecent rush to IPO at the moment, all predicated on the fact that as soon as one fails to get away it will derail those following.
What’s interesting is the appetite for the offerings and some of the valuations being put on them. It appears that lessons learnt from the Debenhams flotation and the dotcom bubble bursting have been forgotten.
What short memories we all have in the pursuit of wealth – remember, all that glistens is not gold.
It seems that if you put a dotcom after your name or position yourself as a tech player, you can gain valuations beyond your wildest dreams.
How a business that made a profit before tax of £8.7m last year can be worth £1.6bn is beyond me (which is probably why I am not lazing on a beach in the Caribbean).
Ambitions and potential are all very well but it is execution that makes the difference - look at Best Buy’s ignominious retreat from these shores as an example.
If we are to believe that the current valuations are correct then you should sell everything you possess and fill your boots with Asos shares because they are only valued at 95 times earnings, not 180 times.
On a cautionary note, I worked for two companies that back in the day were at the forefront of the dotcom bubble and boom. One of them at its height was worth about $398bn (£237.7bn) with a share price of $124 (£74).
Within two years it was worth around $5bn (£2.9bn) with its shares trading at 0.45 cents (0.26p), and eventually it went bust.
When I left the other, I sold my shares at £9 and again within two years they had crashed to be worth pence.
In the spirit of the new valuations era I can today announce that we will be changing our company name to Barracudasearch.com. We have loads of potential, possess some really neat technology (we have cable ties) and I fully expect to appear in the Sunday Times Rich List next year once we have floated.
Move over guys, there’s a new high roller in town.