The question on everyone's lips today, as they watched Vonage stock sink lower and lower, until it was nearly $2.50 below its $17 offering price, was: is it all Skype's (and therefore, eBay's) fault? More to the point, was it all Andy Kessler's fault?
When Skype first announced their free SkypeOut calling in the U.S. and Canada, Kessler wrote for GigaOm, wondering if this move was a catlike (in the sense that cats are evilly playful, like Tom of Tom & Jerry, but smarter): "Vonage is begging customers to buy 20% of the deal - not a great sign. Ebay knows this, why not toy with the mouse before you kill it. What better way to do away with the Vonage IPO and raise their cost of capital then scare investors even more," he wrote.
Commenters excoriated him, complaining that he was both bitter and wrong. Today he had the last word, and wrote, "Here's how not to do a deal. Citigroup raised the number of shares in the deal, but not the price." That, Kessler, says, was the wrong move in an uncertain climate (investors hardly knew whether Vonage had any value when SkypeOut is free). What's more, pricing at the middle of the $16-$18 range, always a questionable strategy, proved to be egg all over Citigroup's face. Vonage has money, Citigroup has its fee, and all the investors who bought at $17 now have lots of places toward which to shake their fists.