Bay Area's IPO Dry Spell Ends With Offering by FormFactor

Jason Dearen
The Recorder

In an arid initial public offering landscape, a successful IPO by FormFactor Inc.—the first this year by a Bay Area company—has many in the Valley feeling cautiously optimistic.

Attorneys in the Mountain View office of Fenwick & West and the Palo Alto office of Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich represented Livermore-based FormFactor, a maker of wafer probe cards for the semiconductor industry, in the June 12 IPO.

The company's shares opened much higher, at $19, than the offer price. Shares had priced previously at $14.

FormFactor's successful IPO has many lawyers hopeful that this might be a sign of an upturn. But Peter Astiz, one of the partners at Gray Cary who worked on the deal, credits FormFactor's long-established history and profitability as the reasons for its success, not economic recovery in the technology sector.

"There's a perception that there is a window here, and time will tell whether it's real or hopeful," Astiz said. "But we do have three other IPOs in the pipeline."

While the FormFactor IPO may or may not be an indication of better things to come, Astiz said it shows that a successful offering can be done in any market. "It was successful because of the character of the company, but also because there is money on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity. There's always a market for good companies."

Fenwick partner and Chairman Gordon Davidson led the deal for the firm. Partners Mark Leahy and Jeffrey Vetter also worked on the transaction. Fenwick served as company counsel.

In addition to Astiz at Gray Cary, corporate partner Gregory Gallo and associates Jenelle Cox, Elizabeth O'Callahan and Steven Davis worked on the deal.