Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Will OpenTable Be Just What Silicon Valley Ordered This Week?


One of the first Silicon Valley start-ups to go public in a long while–OpenTable–is expected to come to market this week, with venture firms hoping it will prove a tasty treat for Wall Street.

Whether the $42 million initial public offering of the online restaurant reservation service proves to be a bellwether or not is unclear since its business has–despite strong revenue gains over the last two years–run up operating losses for much of its lifespan of 10 years.

OpenTable’s last three months of results, though, have seen a small profit. It makes money primarily from fees from restaurants it gets for a variety of services.

Revenue for 2007 was $41.1 million and for 2008, $55.8 million.

OpenTable is most definitely a creature of Silicon Valley. Its CEO, Jeff Jordan, is a former top eBay (EBAY) exec, and one of its VC backers is Benchmark Capital, among others. Its venture funding has totaled about $50 million.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the San Francisco-based OpenTable is expected to price from $12 to $14 a share and then begin trading on Nasdaq under the ticker stock symbol OPEN later this week.

Proceeds from the sale of three million shares, OpenTable has said in regulatory filings, will net it about $16.1 million, with 48 percent of shares being sold by existing shareholders.

The IPO, underwritten by Merrill Lynch & Co., would value the company at about $280 million, which is about five times its 2008 revenues.

(You can look at OpenTable’s initial public filing in January about the IPO here.)

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— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post