Delay Story

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2004-06-21 Print this article Print

The San Francisco companys latest IPO troubles center on a May 9 New York Times article, which previewed its impending IPO. The article tracked the companys history and the current state of the hosted CRM market. Benioff was interviewed for the article, though he did not comment on the pending IPO, which was then scheduled for May 23. The IPO had been previously delayed as the company reconciled accounting issues relating to expensing of sales commissions and the amount of company stock Benioff owns, according to published reports.

In this months SEC filing, Salesforce. com acknowledged that it stopped the IPO process May 13 and entered the cooling-off period so that any effects the Times article and other media reports would have on the IPO would "dissipate," according to the filing. has no comment on the IPO or the amended registration statement, said company officials.

Click here for a review of Spring 04 Enterprise Edition. Mike Doyle, CEO of rival Salesnet, in Boston, was sympathetic to Benioff. Doyle took Standish Care Co., which he founded, public in 1992, the first assisted-living service provider company to go public, Doyle said. He also described a cooling-off period for the talkative Benioff as "almost an oxymoron."

"You wont want to completely muzzle Marc, though," said Doyle. "Hes done a good job of evangelizing for this industry." indicated in its most recent filing that it expects to sell 10 million shares, priced at $7.50 to $8.50 per share. When that will happen now is anyones guess, though before the end of the summer seems likely. Doyle said he will watch closely. "Their IPO will be a very important data point for us," he said. "An IPO is something were considering. A lot of our decision will be based on the success of Salesforce.coms IPO."

Gow said Salesforce.coms IPO stumbles likely wont have much of a chilling effect on the rest of the market. "Their problems have more to do with statements made by the CEO than with the companys fundamentals," Gow said. "Its going to be one of the hot IPOs out there. Itll drive interest in the others." David Brooks, director of CRM at customer Magma Design Automation Inc., said the companys IPO hiccups havent become a distraction yet. "As far as Im concerned, they can just stay private," said Brooks in Santa Clara, Calif.

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