A very happy birthday to LogMeIn

Contact: Brenon Daly

Exactly a year ago, LogMeIn hit the public market with an offering that has done what IPOs are generally expected to do. The debut priced at the top of its range ($14-16), raised a goodly amount of money ($107m, from 6.7 million shares at $16 each) and has held up solidly in the aftermarket. In its year as a public company, LogMeIn stock is up some 80% from its offer price, and more than 40% from its first-day close – twice the return of the Nasdaq over the same period. It currently sports an outsized market valuation of some $660m.

As we were wishing the on-demand remote connectivity vendor a happy birthday, we couldn’t help but be struck by the fact that if LogMeIn were trying to go public just a year later, the offering would almost certainly look less attractive. We’ve noted that three of the recent tech IPOs (Motricity, Convio and TeleNav) have all priced below their expected ranges. (The discounting was fairly dramatic in the case of Motricity, which ended up raising just half the amount that it originally planned.)

Also, as we discussed in a special report on the IPO market, offering sizes have been coming down. LogMeIn was able to raise more than $100m, despite finishing the previous year at about $50m. (Granted, looking at a subscription-based company in terms of revenue – rather than bookings – isn’t the most accurate financial picture.) In comparison, Tripwire, which recently put in its prospectus, is half again as big ($74m in 2009 revenue) as LogMeIn. But the security management provider is looking to raise just $86m.

A ‘paper’ windfall in LogMeIn IPO

Contact: Brenon Daly

One of the investment banks that profited the most from Wednesday’s strong debut of LogMeIn wasn’t even on the prospectus. Instead, it was in the prospectus. McNamee Lawrence, an advisory shop with no underwriting business, realized a tidy little $2m windfall from the IPO.

Heading into the offering, McNamee Lawrence held some 99,000 shares in LogMeIn that it picked up in late 2004 for helping to place the startup’s series A funding round, as well as other advisory work. McNamee Lawrence took a small amount of money off the table, selling some 21,000 shares at the $16 initial pricing of LogMeIn. That netted the bank about $336,000. It still holds some 78,000 shares, which had a paper value of about $1.6m, based on the price of LogMeIn shares on Thursday afternoon.

Granted, the holdings of McNamee Lawrence are only a tiny slice of the overall 21.4 million LogMeIn shares outstanding. And the firm’s stake is a fraction of the major owners of LogMeIn, Prism Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners. Prism holds shares worth about $80m, while Polaris, which sold $7.4m worth of shares in the offering, still owns a chunk valued at about $59m.

Still, the shares represent a nice windfall for McNamee Lawrence. (In addition, some of the firm’s partners put money individually into LogMeIn in the company’s seed round in early 2004.) Of course, the practice of taking paper as payment was pretty common across all kinds of service providers back in the Bubble Era, when startups routinely handed out options and warrants to cover bills from banks, lawyers and even landlords. After so many people got burned by taking worthless options and warrants in the early 2000s, however, cash returned as the currency of choice.

Imaging an alternative exit for LogMeIn

Contact: Brenon Daly

With LogMeIn set to price its IPO later today, the next ‘buyer’ of the company will be public market investors. The on-demand vendor will sell 6.7 million shares in an offering that’s being led by JPMorgan Chase and Barclays Capital. LogMeIn set an initial range of $14-16 per share, implying a market capitalization of $300m-340m. It will likely price above that range, and we expect strong demand for LogMeIn shares once they start trading under the ticker ‘LOGM’ on the Nasdaq.

As the company gets set to realize that exit (after more than 17 months on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission), we thought about where it might have looked had it opted for the other possible exit, a trade sale. We’re not suggesting that LogMeIn was dual-tracking by any means. In fact, although it kept its S-1 alive while so many other tech companies pulled their IPO paperwork, that move wasn’t driven by desperation. LogMeIn doesn’t actually need the proceeds. It is heading into the offering with no debt and $27m in cash on its books, having generated cash for the past nine quarters. Even on a GAAP basis, the firm has been profitable for the past three quarters.

Thus, LogMeIn doesn’t need the offering any more than it needs a trade sale. And to be clear, we hadn’t heard that the company was pursuing anything other than an IPO. Nonetheless, as we did some blue-sky thinking, we quickly came up with two deep-pocketed companies that would have been very smart to nab LogMeIn before it went public. Keep in mind, too, that the two primary rivals to LogMeIn are GoToMyPC and WebEx Communications, firms that have been snapped up by tech giants Citrix and Cisco, respectively.

So here’s our hypothetical short list of possible buyers for LogMeIn. Symantec already has several products that compete with LogMeIn (notably, PC Anywhere), but it is a key partner for LogMeIn. And Big Yellow has shown that it is ready to go shopping to bolster its software-as-a-service business. It paid $695m, or almost 5x trailing 12-month sales, for MessageLabs last October, its largest deal in more than a year and a half. Alternatively, Dell knows all about picking up companies just before they go public. It paid a double-digit multiple for its push into storage with the $1.4bn EqualLogic purchase in November 2007. However, Dell has also done a quartet of deals to build out its services offerings, some of which are offered by LogMeIn and others that are complementary. In addition, the customer profiles of the two vendors would synch pretty well, since LogMeIn gets roughly 80% of its revenue from the SMB market.