-- The past decade taught investors a lot about owning stock and getting nothing for it. Tuesday's stock sale by the Green Bay Packers offers the same opportunity — but at least comes with bragging rights.
The Packers, one of the National Football League's oldest franchises, started selling shares for $250 each. In the first 11 minutes the stock was available, investors bought $400,000 worth, says team spokesman Aaron Popkey.
The team is selling stock for the fifth time in its 92-year history as a way to help pay for an $143 million expansion at its home: Lambeau Field. There's no timeframe set on the offering, but the team is hoping to sell 250,000 shares, worth $62.5 million. The team's last stock sale, held in late 1997 and early 1998 raised more than $24 million and the shares were sold for $200 each.
This is not an opportunity for investors to make money, though. The stock pays no dividends, and cannot be sold or traded on a stock exchange. The shares can only be transferred to a family member. And shareholders receive no preferential treatment in terms of tickets.
"It is virtually impossible for anyone to realize a profit on a purchase of common stock or even to recoup the amount initially paid," according to the deal's prospectus. However, "ownership will also provide you with significant bragging rights," according to a letter from Packers President Mark Murphy to prospective investors.
With such restrictions, buying the stock only makes sense for die-hard fans, says Kathy Smith of Renaissance Capital. "The enjoyment a fan might get doesn't pertain to financial return," she says. "You can tell the guy next to you in the stands, 'I own the shares.'"
The Packers stock sale is one example of a few iconic American brands that are potentially selling shares to the public. The Empire State Building may be included in an initial public offering of a real-estate investment trust, a regulatory filing shows. And the owner of Caesar's Palace casino, Caesars Entertainment, filed for an IPO in November. But these are not necessarily a good deal for investors. Caesar's tried to go public a year ago put pulled the IPO amid lukewarm interest, says John Fitzgibbon of IPOScoop.com.
Investors who buy into iconic brands, especially sports teams, aren't doing it for the money, says Francis Gaskins of IPOdesktop.com: "They're not buying for stock appreciation, but for ego."