When companies go public they publish a prospectus with the initial details of the offering. While, cleaning out the closets I found a foot-high stack from the 1990s.
For a financial journalist, the discovery felt the way it must for an archaeologist who stumbles upon dinosaur bones.
Here they were, in vintage condition, all the biggest dreams and schemes from another era: Priceline (1999), eToys (1999), Iridium (1997) and iVillage (1999).
I remember vividly when they all went public. I had a colleague who owned shares in eToys and a friend who worked at iVillage.
If you didn’t live through it, its hard to imagine the frenzy. IVillage was slated to price at $12 a share. The night before it was marked up to $24. The first trade was 95 1/8.
Everyone was going to be insanely rich!
I collected dozens of these so-called Red Herrings while I was a journalist and, for some unknown reason, saved them.
Iridium and Priceline still exist in different forms. IVillage was sold to NBC in 2006 for $600 million and later shuttered. EToys, which enjoyed a market capitalization of $10 billion at one point, filed for bankruptcy two years after going public.