Last fall, a company called Fantex announced that San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was joining them to sell stock in himself. This was followed up in February with an announcement by Fantex that the "Vernon Davis IPO" was going to begin. The IPO reservation period wraps up tomorrow at 2 p.m. PT, but you can only make a new reservation until 2 p.m. PT today.
Fantex paid Davis $4 million in exchange for a 10 percent interest in his brand. In order to cover that plus various fees, they are offering 421,100 shares of Vernon stock at $10 per share. Fantex's goal is to develop a stock market of different athletes, in which people can buy and sell the stock. The idea is that you can make and lose money on player stock just like you can with the real stock market. In reality, you are not actually investing directly in Vernon. Rather, it is a tracking stock, and your purchase "will represent an ownership interest in Fantex, Inc. as a whole." The fine print of note includes this:
Fantex Vernon Davis is intended to track and reflect the separate economic performance of the brand contract that Fantex, Inc. has signed with Vernon Davis. However, holders of shares of Fantex Vernon Davis will have no direct investment in that brand contract, associated tracking series brand or Vernon Davis. Rather, an investment in Fantex Vernon Davis will represent an ownership interest in Fantex, Inc. as a whole, which will expose holders to additional risks associated with any other tracking stock that Fantex, Inc. may establish and issue in the future. Fantex cannot assure you as to the development or liquidity of any trading market for the Fantex Vernon Davis tracking stock.
This offering is highly speculative and the securities involve a high degree of risk. Investing in shares of Fantex Vernon Davis should only be considered by persons who can afford the loss of their entire investment.
I think the idea of this is kind of cool in theory, but given that they are the first of their kind with this kind of thing, it's a significantly risky investment. Even more so than just normal stock. Fantex makes money no matter what through transaction fees, although they obviously could go out of business if this idea tanks. You the investor conceivably could get a chance to make money buying and selling Vernon Davis stock, but we don't know if this idea will really pan out.
If you want to invest in Vernon Davis stock, you are potentially betting on a couple things. Will Vernon get one more decent-sized contract, and will he develop significant off-the-field value that will carry over after his playing days. He has his Jamba Juice stores, and we know he's big into curling, but will that translate into more after his career is over? If you think he could end up as a big-time broadcaster, or in movies/TV or something else, then by all means, invest away. If you're not sure what to make of Vernon's post-playing career prospects, tread lightly.