Deal Insider: A big brown delivery
Author: Antony Currie
Amount: $5.47 billion
Type of issue: Initial public offering
Launched: November 10th
Price: $50 per share
Lead manager: Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
Nicknames are dangerous things. If we based our judgements on them, United Parcel Service would be in a pile of trouble. Big Brown is the rather unflattering one appended to UPS. It's the company's fault, of course - they should never have painted their delivery vans that colour, or put their employees in those awful dirt-brown overalls. And everyone has their own delivery horror story, such as when UPS sent the computer for Euromoney's US editor 3000 miles from Long Island to California, instead of 30 miles to New York.
Luckily for them, investors have managed to look beyond that, even though UPS decided that it should get the big brown van out to go on display outside the New York Stock Exchange on the day of the IPO. At least the front section of a UPS Boeing 727 and a huge blow-up of the hand-held computer used by delivery employees managed to distract from the big brown blob.
So much so that when UPS launched its IPO in November it was heavily oversubscribed, and demand for shares was so strong that it was only at 10.15am,