Alien Technology Files for IPO

By Mary Catherine O'Connor

The tag and reader maker hopes to raise up to $138 million by selling shares of stock.

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Morgan Hill, Calif., RFID systems provider Alien Technology announced yesterday that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell up to $138 million of its common stock, according to an SEC Form S-1 filing. The company has not yet revealed how many shares it will sell, the price of those shares or when the sale will begin.

Erik Michielsen, director of RFID research at ABI Research, says the time is right for Alien to make the offering. "Alien is leading the market for EPC Class 1 Gen 1 RFID tags," he explains, "and has strong adoption among consumer packaged goods companies. Now, before the Gen 2 market becomes too competitive, is the best time for this move."

Michielsen believes the offering, if successful, will enable the company to raise capital to invest in the organization, and to provide an exit strategy for the firm's investors.

Since its founding in 1999, Alien has raised $212 million in eight rounds of funding. Its most recent funding, totaling $66 million, was announced in July 2005 (see Alien Lands $66 Million in Funding). Alien Technologies is one of the largest manufacturers of passive UHF tags and readers for the retail supply chain. Generating capital from stock sales is likely to enable the company to fund future innovations.

Alien has applied to have its stock listed on the Nasdaq market under the symbol "RFID." Bear Stearns & Co. is acting as book-running manager for the offering, with Cowen & Co., Robert W. Baird & Co. and Advanced Equities acting as comanagers.