Annie Get Your IPO Pricing Gun
Annie's (NYS: BNNY) Wall Street debut is hopping today.
The maker of organic foods priced its IPO at $19 last night, comfortably above both its original $14 to $16 price range and its recently revised target of $16 to $18. It wasn't enough. The stock popped to open at $31.11 this morning.
Folks can't seem to get enough out of the company that got its start more than 20 years ago when Annie Withey -- yes, there's a real Annie -- began selling organic macaroni and cheese. The product line evolved to eventually include organic snacks, condiments, and even a rising-crust pizza.
The boxes bear a "Rabbit of Approval" stamp, and that bunny -- the inspiration for the company's ticker symbol -- was Bernie. The Dutch rabbit was Annie's beloved pet for many years, making this the second recent IPO to celebrate a founder's deceased pet through a logo that gets worked into a ticker symbol.
If you're stumped on the other company, it'll surprise you. Zynga (NAS: ZNGA) got its name from the social gaming giant's founder bulldog.
There's naturally little that Zynga and Annie's have in common even though Annie's likes to play a real version of FarmVille in its organic sourcing. Both stocks have been hot IPOs, though.
This is a good time for a company seen as a pure play in organic edibles. Ubiquitous grocer Whole Foods Market (NAS: WFM) has rattled off several quarters in a row of stellar store-level comps. United Natural Foods (NAS: UNFI) -- a distributor of organic goods -- is projected to grow revenue at a double-digit clip over the next few quarters.
Annie's growth will fit in nicely. The company saw its net sales climb 22% in its last fiscal year, and Annie's top line has delivered a 21% top-line spurt through the first nine months of the 2012 fiscal year that ends later this week. Pre-tax profits more than doubled last year and are up a robust 39% through the first three quarters of this fiscal year.
Today's scintillating debut is naturally going to raise valuation concerns. More than 80% of the shares being offered this morning came from insiders willing to cash out in the teens. Then again, Annie's has the pedigree of a solid growth stock, and it's definitely in the right niche at the right time.
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At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Whole Foods Market. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
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