Why the Pivotal Software IPO Might Not Be That Great

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Pivotal Software Inc. (NYSE: PVTL) entered the market relatively quietly on Friday. Despite the recent market volatility, this has been a great time for tech companies to come public, with DropBox a very recent example. There are concerns, however, regarding Pivotal and its path to profitability that may hold the stock back later on down the road.

The firm priced its initial public offering of 37.0 million shares at $15 apiece, with an overallotment option for an additional 5.55 million shares. At this price, the entire offering is valued up to $638.25 million. Note that GE is selling 3.9 million of the 37.0 million shares.

The underwriters for the offering are Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse, RBC Capital Markets, UBS Investment Bank, Wells Fargo, KeyBank Capital Markets, William Blair, Mischler Financial Group, Ramirez, Siebert Cisneros Shank and the Williams Capital Group.

This company provides a leading cloud-native platform that makes software development and IT operations a strategic advantage for its customers. Its cloud-native platform, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, accelerates and streamlines software development by reducing the complexity of building, deploying and operating new cloud-native applications and modernizing legacy applications.

The firm detailed some finances in the filing:

Our subscription revenue was $95.0 million, $150.0 million and $259.0 million for fiscal 2016, fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 58% and 73% for our two most recent fiscal years. Our total revenue was $280.9 million, $416.3 million and $509.4 million for fiscal 2016, fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 48% and 22% for our two most recent fiscal years.

Note that the company had an operating loss of $168.4 million last year and a loss of $226.5 million the year before that.

So after some quick math, total revenues were up 22% last year. And assuming this pace, Pivotal could generate $750 million in revenues in 2020. But total costs last year, such as the cost of revenue and operating expenses that were $677 million, would likely grow as well.

Shares of Pivotal were last seen up about 5% at $15.72, with a range of $15.11 to $16.80 on the day thus far. As of 12:20 p.m. Eastern, about 17 million shares had moved.

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