Yes, the long anticipated credit card giant is filing for the IPO. Here is its S1 prospectus. I have not read the S1, but from what I read (from MSNBC), they are going to raise up to $10 billion. That’s the largest IPO in US since 2000, and it’s the category of China ICBC’s IPO couple years ago (1398.HK).
My gut feeling of its IPO is two fold:
1) It will be priced (relative terms) higher than MasterCard IPO couple years ago, the reason goes as follows: MA went up from $40 to $200 in that period. Now people who missed the boat on MasterCard IPO will try hard to get on the Visa ship, thinking they can get the return like MA did.
2) current market condition is not friendly for IPO, because the big investment banks are in financial difficulty now. So, do they expect little guys (like us) to hold the bag?
Business wise, we all know the credit card transaction is booming. From developed countries to developing countries, everyone is addicted to the plastic, as shown by the following pic (from Visa prospectus).
Visa is an Olympics sposor, so pack your visa card if you visit Beijing this August 🙂
(Update Feb 28) My friend LaoZhang (author of StrengthTrader.com) wrote a good piece about Visa IPO (in Chinese), here is the link.
AAPL: is Apple a computer maker, an eletronic (fashion) gadgets maker, or music store? It’s all of the above. I did not realized it’s the No. 3 music retailer in the US until a few weeks ago (behind Wal-mart and Best Buy). The reason is it created the digital music market: iTune.
For graphical designers, Apple is a computer maker; for music lovers, Apple is the new “Sony” because the iPod is the new “Walkman”. For musicians, record and movie companies, iTune is the retail channel. I think that relation is similar to that between Cocacola and McDonald (Coke relies on MCD to sell its coke, Sprite etc.)
GOOG: many people misunderstood it when it went public in Summer 2004, it’s just another technology (search) company, right? Now we all know it’s the world largest advertisement broker (Internet). For many small business owners, it’s the place to put target ads (AdWord); for publishers and bloggers, its adSense let them make money. Of course for web users, it’s arguably the best search engine. For Bill Gates and his troops in Redmond, it’s the biggest threat.
But I don’t regret it. I noticed J. Crew (JCG) IPO last summer, and started pay attention to its stock. I have been their customer since my friend’s recommendation in early 2006, bought some shirts and pants at discount, been happy with them. But, I did not buy their stock at discount last year (it has been at 25 for a while). Why I didn’t pull the trigger? There were two reasons:
1) I found the ladies’ products made up majority of the sales at J. Crew. I don’t know about ladies’ trend.