A123 Unveils IPO Terms: The Power of Nine?

A123Systems, the Watertown, MA-based advanced battery manufacturer that hopes to provide lithium ion batteries for the next generation of electric and hybrid vehicles, today revealed the expected stock price for its initial public offering. The company will seek to sell 25 million shares of its common stock at $8.00 to $9.50 per share, according to regulatory forms filed today. That would bring the company between $200 million and $237.5 million in new working capital.

Individual shareholders, including senior managers at A123, will sell an additional 680,500 shares, potentially netting them $5.4 million and $6.5 million. A date for the IPO has not been announced. Morgan Stanley and Goldman, Sachs are the lead underwriters, and A123 will trade on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol “AONE.”

There is likely some numerological significance to the timing of the announcement of A123’s IPO terms. As Bob reported last year, A123 deliberately chose to submit its original IPO filing at 8:08 a.m. on August 8, 2008 (8:08 on 08/08/08). A123’s co-founder, MIT material scientist Yet-Ming Chiang, was born in Taiwan, and in Chinese culture the number 8 is considered to be especially lucky, associated with sudden fortune and prosperity.

Today is 09/09/09, and in Chinese numerology, the number 9 is traditionally associated with power, since it is the highest number before 10. In Mandarin (though not Cantonese) the word for 9 is also a homonym for “long-lasting.” Traditionally, the robes of the emperor of China showed nine dragons, and in Chinese mythology, dragons have nine children.

As Chiang wrote in an e-mail after the initial IPO filing: “It was not a coincidence that the ’send’ button was pushed at 8:08am on 8/8/08, although I wasn’t the one who did it!” Today’s filing is probably no coincidence either.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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