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投资理财

为什么公司现在上市没有什么意义

Peter McKay 2017年09月18日

在目前的市场条件下,私有公司上市带来的优势几乎不存在。

今年,首次公开募股的形势比起2016年有所好转,不过也没强到哪里去,考虑到股市的强劲表现,这着实令人惊讶。实际上,许多分析师预测,尽管2017年的情况优于去年,但上市的公司数仍将少于2015年。今年炒作最火热的两大IPO——Blue Apron和Snap都表现糟糕,对促进上市热情毫无帮助。两支股票目前的成交价都远低于起初的发行价。

那么为什么要上市呢?这个问题问得好。作为一家从未寻求外部投资的私有软件公司的共同首席执行官,以及前VMware高管,我可以自信地说,在目前的市场条件下,私有公司上市带来的优势几乎不存在。

公司一旦上市,就被绑上了季度业绩指标,这会让它很难执行成为真正伟大的公司所需的长期战略。投资者可能会忍受较低的利润,甚至亏损,只要增长态势还算良好,但是耐心可不是他们的强项。迟早某一刻,进行大规模投资,可能需要长时间来取得成功的公司将会受到股价下跌的惩罚。公司会因此更容易遭到并购或恶意收购。员工的斗志也会大受打击,因为他们的401(k)养老企业年金和股票期权都取决于股票价值的高低。

其次,在上市公司中,高管可以施展的余地也小得多。公司不仅需要达到或超出分析师预测的季度业绩,还需要披露资料,领导层必须公布(尽管不是全盘托出)公司的战略。这让公司很难迅速改变方向,把握市场机遇,尤其是如果新的机遇会对公司的短期盈利产生负面影响的话。突然偏离公司提出的战略,会被市场看作软弱和犹豫,这会进一步拉低股价。

来自投资者和分析师的压力,迫使高管花费大量时间和资源来追求和安抚他们,这限制了他们迅速行动、抓住机遇的能力。买空型投资者会仔细寻找披露资料中一切可以用于宣扬和利用的弱点,无论那是真实的还是想象的。

而最有伤尊严的事情是什么?公司在控制权的丧失之外,还需要花费数百万美元来准备文书和报告。

当然,如果你需要大规模的资金注入,公共市场可以随时提供所需。如果你的投资者想要退出,公共市场当然也是个好选择。而如果你需要通过并购来发展壮大,上市可以让你有足够资金来大买特买。

不过如果你不需要额外的资金或并购来发展,就完全没有理由上市,尤其是现在。Bose、MailChimp和我自己的Veeam等私有公司都在没有上市“利好”的情况下,迅速地发展和盈利。

归根结底,上市只有在万不得已要满足投资者,募集从其他来源无法获得的资金,或是更容易地收购其他公司时才有意义。坦率地说,看看Snap和Blue Apron最近的例子,任何现在不需要上市的人去这么做都是疯狂的。(财富中文网)

作者彼得·麦凯是Veeam的共同首席执行官和总裁。

译者:严匡正

This year has been better for IPOs than 2016, but not that much better, which is surprising given the stock market’s strong performance. In fact, many analysts expect that although 2017 will top last year, we will still see fewer companies go public in 2017 than in 2015. The poor performance of the two most hyped IPOs this year—Blue Apron and Snap—hasn’t helped boost enthusiasm for going public; both are currently trading far below their initial offering price.

So why go public? It’s a good question. As co-CEO of a privately held software company that has never taken outside investment, and a former senior executive at VMware, I can say with confidence that there’s little advantage for a private company to go public in current market conditions.

By going public, companies chain themselves to quarterly performance goals, which makes it extremely difficult to execute the kind of long-term strategy that creates a truly great company. Investors may tolerate lower profits, and even losses, so long as growth remains robust, but patience is not their strong suit. At some point, usually sooner rather than later, companies that make big investments that take a long time to pay off will be punished by a falling stock price. This leaves the company vulnerable to acquisition or a hostile takeover, and it crushes the morale of employees, whose 401(k) plans and stock options depend on their shares gaining value.

Second, as a public company, executives have much less room to maneuver. Not only is the company expected to meet or exceed analysts’ quarterly performance expectations, but disclosure requirements mean that the leadership team must telegraph, if not outright state, its strategy. This makes it difficult to quickly change direction to take advantage of a market opportunity, especially if the new course will have negative short-term ramifications for earnings. Any sudden deviation from a company’s stated strategy will be perceived by the market as weakness and vacillation, further driving down the stock price.

Pressure from investors and analysts require executives to spend precious time and resources wooing and placating them, restricting their ability to act quickly to seize opportunity. Short sellers scrutinize every disclosure for weaknesses, real or imagined, that they can publicize and exploit.

And the final indignity? For this loss of control, the company will pay millions simply to keep up with paperwork and reporting.

Of course, if you need a large capital infusion, the public markets can provide a ready supply. If your investors are clamoring for an exit, the public markets are certainly a ready option. And if you need to grow through acquisition, going public can give you currency in stock to go on a buying spree.

But if you don’t need additional capital or acquisitions to grow, there’s really no reason to go public, especially now. Privately held companies like Bose, MailChimp, and my own company, Veeam, continue to grow profitably at a rapid clip without the “benefit” of going public.

In the end, going public only makes sense as a last resort to satisfy investors, to raise capital that can’t be sourced elsewhere, or to make it easier to buy other companies. Frankly, given the recent examples set by Snap and Blue Apron, anyone who doesn’t need to go public right now would be crazy to do so.

Peter McKay is co-CEO and president of Veeam.

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