Tuesday, August 14, 2007

VMware Shares Surge With I.P.O.

Pretty amazing story! So who do you invest in? VMWare or the parent EMC? Or both?

Shares in the software company VMware surged 75 percent in their first day of trading, closing at $51, or $22 above the initial offering price of $29.

VMware, which raised about $1.1 billion in the offering, hopes that the strong reception in the stock market will also have strategic and marketing benefits. A valuable stock will give VMware the currency to make acquisitions, Diane Greene, the chief executive, said in an interview.

The standout public offering — the largest technology company I.P.O. since Google in 2004 — is also an “├╝ber-marketing event,” Ms. Greene said, which should widen the audience for its software.

VMware makes so-called virtual software that allows a computer to run different operating systems, or several versions of the same operating system, at the same time. In corporate data centers this means that more chores can be juggled by fewer computers, reducing spending on hardware, electricity and maintenance.

At their height today, the shares reached $55.50, or 90 percent above the offering price.

The strong opening was encouraging not only for VMware’s 3,000 employees, nearly all of whom are shareholders, but for the company’s other investors as well. In the last couple of months, both Intel and Cisco have invested in VMware.

EMC, the big computer storage and software company, will continue to own 86 percent of VMware. It paid $635 million in cash for VMware in December 2003.

Today’s closing price values the company at $19.5 billion. “It’s been a great investment,” said David Goulden, chief financial officer of EMC.

VMware’s sales increased more than 70 percent last year, and are now running at a rate of about $1 billion a year. But the company’s customers are still mainly the largest companies.

“To be really mainstream, you need to move into the smaller companies as well,” Ms. Greene said. “And the higher profile of a separate listing, an attractive stock and being more widely known should help us in the marketplace. More companies will understand our products and how they can use them.”

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