SolarCity’s IPO is trying to limp across the finish line. It was supposed to happen this morning, at a range of $13 to $15 a share, but it’s become clear the deal couldn’t price. The San Jose Mercury News reported early this morning that underwriters were testing the waters at a price range of $10 to $12 to see if any investors were more comfortable coming and buying at that price. Tesla founder Elon Musk, who owns over 30 percent of SolarCity, said he would buy $15 million worth of shares to support the deal.
At this point, the price should be closer to $8 and the Mercury News is saying that SolarCity will move forward at that price point while increasing the size of the offering by over a million shares. Other entities like those affiliated with Draper Fisher Jurvetson will purchase 1.5 million shares and DBL Equity will purchase 300,000 shares.
It’s an all out effort to get the deal done as SolarCity brings in inside support to spur on investors. At $8, the company would be valued at $585 million. Through the first nine months of this year, SolarCity had revenue of $103 million, giving the company an approximate price to sales ratio of 4.3. For comparison, solar developer First Solar has a price to sales ratio of 1.04.
Making valuation comparisons at this point is tricky but what’s striking is just that the market clearly is very apprehensive about overpaying for any IPO right now. Which isn’t surprising given the collective disasters that the Facebook, Zynga, and Groupon IPOs have proven.