One IPO investor who has some observers envious--and some San Franciscans irked--is Mayor Willie Brown, who snagged eight offerings late last year with the help of a brokerage firm that has done business with the city, according to news reports.
Brown was able to tap a potential profit bonanza only dreamed about by most casual investors, as hot stock offerings generate far more demand than supply.
Analysts said there was nothing illegal about Brown's participation in the IPOs. Some said it appeared as if Brown may have gotten preferential treatment from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. in order to buy the shares, but the mayor's office said there was no link between the IPOs and city business involving Morgan Stanley.
After a series of revelations this week, the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday quoted Brown as saying he was given "remnants" of the frenzied IPO market by the brokerage. Brown, whose purchases included United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) and Agilent Technologies Inc. (A), said he only netted $11,000 in fourth-quarter trading.
Nonetheless, San Francisco Examiner columnist Rob Morse quipped: "The heck with the 'old economy' and 'the new economy.' I want a piece of the Willie economy."