The OpenTable case describes the company’s evolution from its startup phase in 1998 to its decision to go public ten years later. The company transitioned through three CEOs until it hired Jeff Jordan, former head of PayPal and general manager of eBay North America, to help take the company public. The case describes the various factors a company must consider when going public, including the company’s long-term potential, the fiduciary responsibility to investors, the regulations associated with Sarbanes-Oxley, the time and energy required of the management team and financial staff to meet regulators’ and investors’ needs as a public company, and the obvious financial and branding benefits, among others. OpenTable has just selected Merrill Lynch as its lead bank when the U.S. financial markets collapse virtually collapse overnight in the fall of 2008, creating a decision point for the management team and board to either continue forward with the process or wait an indefinite amount of time until the economy gains more stability.
This material is available for download by current Stanford GSB students, faculty, and staff only. For inquiries, contact the Case Writing Office.