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Newsforge: Can Mandrake raise money by being your team?

Jun 01, 2001, 13:44 (15 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jack Bryar)

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Rabidly pro-Mandrake? Willing to fork over some money with no expectation of seeing anything back from it except the satisfaction of MandrakeSoft's ongoing survival? This column maintains that by going with a Regulation A offering, Mandrake could have its IPO, depressed stock market or no.

"Two of the best examples of going public in spite of the bottom line come out of professional sports. The Green Bay Packers of the NFL are in the smallest marketplace of any "major league" franchise. By normal measures, the team should have moved to someplace like Los Angeles decades ago. But when the team went "public," it sold shares to local sports enthusiasts. Shareholders do not share in team earnings or receive dividends, and today the corporation is explicitly structured as a non-profit, but by offering "shares," fans have managed to keep the team in their small city overlooking Lake Michigan. The most recent sale of "stock" in 1997, generated $24 million in cash and expanded its "investor" base to 110,000 stockholders.

Likewise, when the Boston Celtics of the NBA went partially public back in 1986, most investors understood that it was a device to make sure the team never left Boston. Although the Celtics LP trades on the New York Stock Exchange, it was never supposed to be a major revenue opportunity, and so far it hasn't been. Most sports teams regularly lose money. But investor interest remains high among fans, who worry about a different bottom line than just the financial standings. Other sports teams with a passionate fan base have looked at the are considering looking at similar offerings."

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