We're not very far into 2014, but you can already call this the year of the IPO. So far, more than 40 companies have gone public. That's more than double last year at this time and the most since the economic boom year of 2007. "And the party’s just starting," says John Fitzgibbon, founder of IPO Scoop. He says the IPO boom is all about the strong stock market. "It’s very simple approach. Good stock market equals good IPO market. Lousy market, kiss it goodbye."
The stock market has been a bit bumpy, but worries about a crash are easing. Investors now want to put their money into companies they think will deliver solid returns. "The increase in the activity for the IPO market is really a statement of how much the market had been held back in the previous last few years," says David Menlow, president of IPO Financial.com. And Menlow says many companies feel they’ve gotta go public before the other guy. "They’ll be a sense of urgency as we move through the year and businesses will expand and as a result we’re expecting all boats to rise with the tide."
Menlow expects we’ll see the IPO pace keep up through the end of the year.
For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a bold new idea from Dunkin' Donuts: an Eggs Benedict sandwich. Finally, a gourmet brunch the same diameter as your cup holder.
Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons two decades ago when Russia and the U.S. pledged to respect its sovereignty. Amid the current crisis with Russia, some Ukrainians now say that was a mistake.
Lauren Wolkstein has her eyes glued to YouTube, watching the latest Wes Anderson movie. She gives a startled laugh as Jason Schwartzman's character's car crashes into a wall.
This seven minute film is not for theaters. It's for Prada, the fashion label.
“This is actually very entertaining,” Wolkstein says. She's an indie film director herself. She's had three films at Sundance. And like Wes Anderson, she's also made a short film for a fashion label, Gucci.
Which begs the question: Why are these famous directors selling out?
“To me,” Wolkstein says of her experience working for Gucci, “it was like, 'Oh, I don't have to worry about dressing the actors, I don't have to worry about the location, they gave me everything to play with, and I was able to tell a story, with these amazing clothes!''
Wolkstein says it can take years to raise enough money to finance a film, even for established indie directors. Commissions from big brands take that problem away.
"They're saying 'I love your work, here's some money, pretty much take this money and run with it and tell your stories.' And the only requirement, if any, is to put their name and the brand on the film."
She says having a fashion brand as your patron, giving you free rein, it actually raises a filmmaker's street cred.
But what's in it for the brand?
“I think fashion brands for a long time struggled to go online,” says Quynh Mai, founder of the agency Moving Image and Content, which helps fashion companies with digital marketing. “They sell exclusivity, aspiration. And for a long time the online space was the antithesis of that.”
Mai says having a web film with a fancy director gives fashion houses the exclusivity they're aiming for.
“When brands like Prada spend exorbitant amount of moneys on their films online,” Mai says, “they're trying to create a halo effect for their brand – that crosses not only their target consumer but maybe the consumer who buys their sunglasses, or buys their nail polish.”
Although, Mai says, when brands hire big name directors to make their films, it can take away attention from the brand.
“All people say is, 'Have you seen that Wes Anderson short?'” she says. “I’m not sure that that was a Prada piece.”
But director Lauren Wolkstein says hiring an indie director can actually save a brand money, because they're used to making films on a smaller budget than most commercial crews.
Cornell University President David Skorton has been named the Smithsonian's next secretary. Skorton, a cardiologist and amateur jazz musician, will be the first physician to lead the nation's attic.
From the Marketplace Datebook, here’s a look at what’s coming up on March 11:
- In Washington, the Labor Department issues its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
- A Senate Committee talks about what the U.S. health care system can learn from other countries.
- And on March 11, 1961 Barbie’s boyfriend Ken made his debut. Evolutions of Ken include Sun Lovin’ Malibu Ken, Dream Date Ken, Totally Hair Ken, and Harley Davidson Ken.
"They want to bring a train through here, that's fine," a Wyoming landowner says. "We never expected and we never agreed to a bicycle trail." His family is fighting a rails-to-trails conversion.