In a flash, Fusion-IO plans secondary

Contact: Brenon Daly

Just eight months after first filing its IPO paperwork and a scant five months after debuting on the NYSE, Fusion-io has already indicated that there will be a lot more of its shares hitting the market in the coming days. The flash memory specialist plans to sell $100m worth of stock in a secondary, with insiders slated to sell another $250m. In its June IPO, Fusion-io raised more than $200m, selling over 10 million shares. In that offering, insiders sold only 1.5 million shares.

Even though other companies often get slammed for insiders ‘running for the exits’ when selling such a large slug of equity so quickly after the offering, Fusion-io stock barely moved when it announced the secondary. If nothing else, that was consistent with the vendor’s overall stunning aftermarket performance. It priced at $19, first traded in the low $20s and was flirting around $36 on Monday afternoon. And although the stock is highly volatile, with some 10% intra-day swings, it only dipped briefly below its offer price in late September. Overall, any investor who bought on the opening day in June is up about 50%, compared to a flat performance during that period on the Nasdaq.

In that way, Fusion-io is rather unique among the other enterprise technology firms that have gone public so far this year. Cornerstone OnDemand, which went public in March, hit the market at about $19. While Cornerstone held that level for its first four months as a public company, it has been underwater for the last four months. It is down about 25% while the Nasdaq has flatlined. Even more dramatically, Responsys has sunk to just half the level it first traded back in April. Although Responsys had been slipping steadily since early September, the online marketing vendor got buried last week when it warned – in just its third report to Wall Street – that sales in the final months of 2011 would increase only about one-third the rate that revenue had been growing.