for those of you who (like us) have the business sense
of a six-year-old running a lemonade stand:
1999: The Agnelli Family (best known for running Fiat into the ground) sells Piaggio, with whom they also worked their magic, to Morgan Grenfell Private Equity (part of DeutscheBank). Morgan Grenfell brings Vespa back to America and loses even more money.
October 2003: Morgan Grenfell sells a chunk of Piaggio, near-bankruptcy, to Immsi, an investment company run by Roberto Colaninno, an extremely rich and powerful Italian businessman famous for paying â‚¬60 billion for Telecom Italia. He pays â‚¬100 millions for about a third of Piaggio and permission to have his way with her. Colaninno brings in Rocco Sabelli as CEO and they start turning things around, kinda like Michael Keaton and Gedde Watanabe in “Gung Ho.”
2004: Piaggio acquires Moto Guzzi and Aprilia and adds them to its lineup, already including Derbi, Piaggio, and Vespa, as well as Ape and Porter commercial vehicles. Sales improve, new markets are explored, cooperation with other companies is announced, and things look good. Other than in America, of course.
Jan/Feb 2006: Piaggio announces it is preparing to go public, which in short means that shares of the company will be sold on the stock market to individual investors to raise operating capital. Thus, anyone with enough money to buy shares, would then have a small stake in the profits and operations of the company.
March 11, 2006: Piaggio CEO Rocco Sabelli announced that Piaggio would go public by the end of the summer, to be listed on the Borsa Italiana, Italy’s main stock exchange, based in Milan.
May 2006: Piaggio goes into overdrive, making a big fuss about the Vespa’s 60th anniversary, and revealing the MP3 three-wheeler and prototype hybrid Vespa and Piaggio scooters. The timing is not a coincidence.
June 2006: Piaggio announces their first profitable first-quarter in recent memory, lightning strikes the factory, and despite early-June rumors that the IPO may be delayed, Piaggio announces their prospectus (the document outlining the plan to go public) is about to be approved by Consob, the Borsa Italiana regulatory board.
June 19, 2006: the prospectus is released. Immsi, who now owns 40% of Vespa announces they plan to acquire an additional 9%. With the prospectus in hand, the company’s various owners (Morgan Grenfell now owns 20%, they and other part-owners and creditors will sell their shares) plan to sell 158 million shares to mostly institutional investors (funds, banks, etc) for between â‚¬2.30 and â‚¬3 a share, and hopes to generate up to â‚¬474 million with the sale.
June 20, 2006: Piaggio’s agents begin to meet with institutional investors and the IPO is underway.
July 4, 2006: Despite Pirelli’s IPO cancellation due to lack of interest, Piaggio announces they’ll continue to move forward as planned. Colaninno reveals he’s never ridden a motorcycle.
July 6, 2006: It is announced that the IPO sold 119.3 million shares shares, valued at â‚¬2.30, the low end of the projected range. At this point, no shares have been sold on the open market, only privately to the institutional investors who will then hopefully unload them for profit when the stock is traded on the Borsa. This scored Piaggio nearly â‚¬300 million in cash and set their worth at just under â‚¬900 million. Had the shares had traded at the high end, â‚¬3 per, Piaggio would have been worth over â‚¬1 billion. Immsi, who increased their share to 49%, buys even more shares to increase their stake to 56%. Sabelli and other executives are permitted to sell half their stock-option shares.
July 11, 2006: Shares are traded on the Borsa Italiana for the first time. More than 21 million shares are traded by the institutional investors that bought them in the IPO. The stock opens at â‚¬2.50, and the Borsa temporarily freezes trading when the price hits â‚¬2.62. That’s a healthy profit (up to 14% if you’re counting) for the investors that funded the IPO. It eventually closes at â‚¬2.46.