By Christopher Flanagan, John Glynn Jr.
2001 | Case No. E100

This case examines the growth and development of Fogdog, an online sporting goods retailer, from its founding, through multiple rounds of venture capital financing, to an IPO, and ultimately to its sale to Global Sports, one of its publicly traded competitors. The Fogdog story is set in the late 1990s, when the Internet economy was virtually exploding with new opportunities. Built to capitalize on the new Internet medium, Fogdog faced a number of issues specific to the unique economic climate surrounding the company at the time. However, the company also faced a number of timeless issues that many emerging companies experience, such as board composition and development, communication between a company and its board, and the respective positions and responsibilities of both management and a company’s investors when tough company decisions have to be made. Woven throughout the case are additional themes of hiring management, raising capital, and forming strategic alliances. The case ends with the “forced” sale of Fogdog by the company’s board at a time when the near-term outlook for Internet-related companies was uncertain. This sale took place despite management’s stated desire to continue running the company. Teaching Note available.

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