Given Imaging: The First Post 9-11 IPO
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Given Imaging: The First Post 9-11 IPO

The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on September 11 forced Given Imaging to postpone its IPO. Intent on forging ahead despite the devastation to America’s financial district, Given rescheduled its stock introduction for October 4.

Paul Holmes

Given Imaging Ltd., a small, Israel-based start-up company, had targeted September 26 for its initial public offering to finance production and marketing of its revolutionary diagnostic-imaging system: a swallowable video capsule for imaging the entire length of the small intestine. The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on September 11, however, forced Given to postpone its event. Intent on forging ahead despite the devastation to America’s financial district, Given rescheduled its stock introduction for October 4.

CHALLENGES

Despite the unique nature of its medical technology, Given faced enormous challenges as it sought to convince investors to buy its stock in the fall of 2001:
· The stock market had been performing poorly for well over a year
· Given was a one-product company that had no record for developing, introducing and marketing medical products
· Given was based in Israel, which has been a scene of horrific violence for the past two years
The attacks on New York and Washington further complicated matters, as politicians, members of the media and the general public speculated when – or if – life in the U.S. would return to normal

PLANNING

Ruder Finn’s initial strategy had been to leverage media, physician and consumer fascination with Given’s technology to pitch the financial media for coverage of the IPO, but September 11 changed all that. After scrambling to reschedule a NASDAQ “Welcome to the Market” ceremony, Ruder Finn shifted gears and used creative research to help reposition the launch. The agency researched the short-term history of IPOs and learned that none had been offered since August 2001. Given’s would be the first since the attacks; this provided a solid rationale for crafting the IPO as an opportunity for America to “get back to business.”

Objectives
· Generate widespread business- and consumer-media coverage of the Given IPO
· Overcome the skepticism of scheduling an IPO in a bear market and after September 11

Strategies
· Leverage Given’s technology as the first to offer physicians a clear and complete view of the small intestine
· Position the IPO as representative of America getting back to business

IMPLEMENTATION

Beginning the week of September 24th, Ruder Finn:
· Distributed information about the upcoming IPO to capital-markets reporters at: the Associated Press, Dow Jones News Service, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Bloomberg
· Media-trained Given CEO Gavriel Meron, helping him distill his “road show” analyst presentation into key messages for media interviews, affirm Given’s ability to manufacture and market a medical technology device worldwide, and address Given’s location in a geopolitical hot spot
· Coordinated the “Welcome to the Market” event with NASDAQ and its president/deputy chairman, Richard G. Ketchum. Ruder Finn also drafted remarks for Given executives and arranged for patients who had undergone imaging with the Given system and New York-area physicians to attend the event
· Prepared an IPO press release and a media alert for posting on the NASDAQ website
· Provided Given b-roll to NASDAQ for display on the NASDAQ Tower in Times Square

EVALUATION

Leading up to the October 4 IPO, Given was featured in two Wall Street Journal stories
On October 4, interviews began at 8:30 a.m. with The Financial Times and continued throughout the day with the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Dow Jones and Bloomberg

Dr. Meron appeared live on October 4 on CNN’s “The Money Gang,” CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” CBS Marketwatch, Bloomberg Television and Reuters Television

Nearly all of the media coverage noted that Given was the first post-September 11 IPO and that the IPO was symbolic of the country getting “back to normal.”

Issues of Given Imaging Ltd. (GIVN:NASDAQ) began trading at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 4, at $12 per share. The stock was warmly received by investors, who drove it to a closing price of $12.89. Falling to a low of $7.20 in October, the stock has since rebounded and was trading in the $17-$18 range in early January.

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