Is the Square (SQ) IPO offering price a huge disappointment?
No, it’s a qualified but large success.
For reasons that only partially make sense, an IPO that trades up at least 20% from its IPO price going forward is a success. That means everyone made money in the IPO itself, it had a “pop”, and the world is all good with the stock — as a new security.
A “failure” by contrast is a broken IPO — one that trades below its IPO price. Worst of all is one that breaks its first day. That means the IPO really couldn’t even get done at all. There was almost no real demand.
So as an IPO, Square is a real, but qualified, success. Up 45% on Day One. BOOM!
This shouldn’t really matter that much. Facebook quickly traded below its IPO price. Google barely got its IPO done and traded down. And tons of Web 1.0 IPOs were underpriced, skyrocketed up, and then went bankrupt. In the long run, the exact price on an IPO is a very minor event, and having a “broken” IPO shouldn’t be the total end of the world. Even though it feels like it.
So, yes, it’s a success. The IPO, even pricing below the range, popped, and the first day was a financial success. And if Square stays above its IPO price forever, it will always be a successful IPO.
But it’s just one little moment in time.