Two MN Companies Poised to Go Public

Plymouth-based BioAmber, Inc., on Monday filed for an initial public offering; meanwhile, Bluestem Brands, which in April filed for an initial public offering, could reportedly go public as early as this week.

Few Minnesota companies have gone public in recent years amid ongoing economic uncertainty, but two local firms have recently made steps toward completing initial public offerings (IPOs).

Plymouth-based BioAmber, Inc., which uses renewable materials to create chemicals, on Monday announced that it has filed for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The regulatory filing does not specify how many shares will be offered or at what price, but it states that the firm is hoping to raise up to $150 million.

News of the proposed offering comes about a week after BioAmber said that it had partnered with Japan-based Mitsui & Company to build new production facilities in Canada and Thailand. The development-stage company-which reported a net loss of $10.8 million for the first six months of this year-said it would use proceeds from the proposed IPO to fund the construction of the new facilities.

Bluestem Brands, Inc., meanwhile, appears close to completing its IPO. The Eden Prairie-based company in April filed an initial registration statement for an IPO that could raise up to $150 million. The company-which changed its name from Fingerhut Direct Marketing, Inc., in February 2010-is a multichannel, multibrand retailer and the parent of Fingerhut.

Bluestem Brands on October 31 wrote in a regulatory filing that it is planning an initial offering price of between $14 and $16 per share. And, according to a recent report by the Star Tribune, the company is expected to go public as early as this week.

A third Minnesota company has also made strides toward going public this year: Proto Labs, Inc., a Maple Plain-based maker of custom mechanical parts, in July filed for an IPO through which it hopes to raise up to $100 million. The company has not yet completed its offering.

According to the Star Tribune, markets have calmed somewhat in recent weeks, and Groupon's successful IPO earlier this month indicates that investors are interested in new offerings. Nationally, three IPOs were completed in October and five have been completed thus far in November, and as many as 14 initial public offerings could price in the next two weeks, according to the Minneapolis newspaper.

So far this year, Plymouth-based Kips Bay Medical, Inc., which has developed a mesh sleeve that is placed over a saphenous vein graft during coronary artery bypass surgery, is the only Minnesota company to have completed an IPO. (Amsterdam-based medical device company Tornier, which has its U.S. headquarters in Edina, also went public earlier this year.)

Only two local companies went public in 2010-New Prague-based Electromed, Inc., and Minneapolis-based SPS Commerce-up from one in 2009 and none in 2008.