Improving investor communications can drive multiple expansion. Oftentimes the impact of better IR is hard to measure, but sometimes the benefit is clear cut. The latter was the case with one of my first consulting clients, for whom I leveraged my investment buy-side experience on behalf. When I came to KLA-Tencor, one of the leaders in the semiconductor industry, the company was suffering from a lower valuation than peers, due largely to a lack of communications in general and a compelling investment story in particular. But obvious and not-so-obvious elements were present to turn things around, and move them from a laggard to a leader — not just in their investor relations program, but also with respect to their relative stock valuation. And that was exactly what we did.
The reason for the failure of the Facebook initial public offering can be summed up in a single word, mobile. Problems at Nasdaq, investment banker miscalculations, a share structure tailored to strip shareholders of traditional rights, concerns over the leadership abilities of a CEO actively articulating his disinterest in making money or even one of their biggest advertisers in General Motors pulling out on the eve of the deal because Facebook advertising was deemed ineffective certainly didn’t help. But all of these issues could have been overcome. What could not be overcome was the inability to communicate a viable mobile strategy.