Alien Technology, which grabbed the coveted RFID trading symbol, had been scheduled to launch its IPO on Thursday, which then moved to Friday. It has now "decided to postpone its IPO due to market conditions," Alien spokesperson Sue Barnes said in an E-mail to reporters.
Barnes stressed that this is not necessarily a permanent move and other Wall Street observers said the company seems to evaluating on a day-by-day basis. "It has not withdrawn or cancelled the offering, and will complete the offering when market conditions improve," Barnes said.
The IPO has been watched closely as it will give Wall Street an opportunity to comment on its RFID sentiments through this signature trading symbol, which will let Alien enjoy the fruits--and suffer the punishments--of an RFID movement with an uncertain future. The StorefrontBacktalk Week-in-Review analyst panel discussed Alien's move Thursday afternoon, shortly before the company decided to postpone again.
Pete Abell, a veteran RFID analyst who now works for IDC, is skeptical when—and whether—Alien's IPO will happen. Even though Alien's statement says it will happen when market conditions improve, Abell said, "They always say that, but with no next date, they better have some great new news, which is highly unlikely."
"The key problem is that they continue to hemorrhage money. Their highly self-touted FSA manufacturing process gets yields in the 15 percent range and they currently sell readers to Wal-Mart at $200 below manufacturing cost," said Abell, the program director for RFID at IDC's Manufacturing Insights. Texas Instruments "has a great new UHF chip just certified by EPCglobal, which will compete with Impinj and Alien's is an also ran."