The IPO market ground almost to a halt in the middle of August, but that doesn’t seem to have hit anyone’s lust for a celebratory opening bell. Even with a record number of canceled or delayed IPOs, we’re seeing a record number of companies filing. Among them, of course, are a handful of social media companies that people have been watching for a while, waiting for the big days.
There’s plenty of speculation out in the marketplace right now. Let’s take a look at where the seven hottest pre-IPO social media companies currently stand:
1. Facebook: that’s the one everybody cares about, right? And by everybody, I include the folks at Zynga, who have IPO ambitions of their own. Well, here’s the deal: nobody seems to know when Facebook is going public (except maybe Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and a handful of others). In April, however, the social media giant is going to have to file with the SEC because it has more than 500 shareholders. When they are forced to open the kimono, an IPO is expected to follow. That could come in September 2012.
2. Groupon: can you believe these guys are still pushing forward? After several amendments to the SEC documents they filed with the SEC, because CEO Andrew Mason apparently loves to see his own words in the press, several senior-level employees have departed the company. Nonetheless, Groupon remains committed to going public.
3. TripAdvisor: this customer review site for the travel sector filed earlier this year and hasn’t said anything about altering its plans. So, there’s a chance Expedia will still spin it off this year. Of course, there are signs of trouble nearby: Kayak, which also plays in the online travel space, recently revealed that it’s deferring its IPO.
4. Glam Media: could this online advertising platform take the plunge? It’s still in the rumor stage right now, but the company has hired a CFO who has gone the distance before. That’s usually a good sign that the idea of going public is being bandied about internally.
5. Zynga: there are so many reasons for Zynga not to go public, but the company hasn’t pulled back from its filing. In fact, it issued an amended one last week, which left accountants wondering how to depreciate virtual assets. The consensus is that Zynga is a fairly strong company, and its brand will help with an IPO even in a volatile market.
6. LivingSocial: While Groupon is gung ho to go public, its competitor is showing more caution. The latest development may be to accept another round of venture capital money (amounting to $200 million), in lieu of a near-term IPO.
7. Twitter: you’re going to have to wait for this one. The earliest Twitter would go public, according to the rumors going around, is sometime in 2013. This might be smart. Twitter has some work to do developing revenue streams, making smart acquisitions and building out its platform with new features that have been owned so far by its application ecosystem. But, if Twitter can’t pull all this off, it will have missed an opportunity to cash out when expectations were lower.