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Sunday, Aug 14, 2022
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OCBJ INSIDER

Buckle up for a potentially rocky ride for 2021’s crop of IPOs in Orange County, four of which see their executives profiled this week as our Businesspeople of the Year. See page 1, 6 and 8 for more.

That’s certainly the case for the stock of Irvine’s Rivian Automotive (Nasdaq: RIVN), which in early December was one of the three most valuable public companies based in Southern California, trailing only Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOMM), after a run-up following its IPO pushed its market value over $150 billion.

A subsequent fall, capped by a hit to shares after news of key investor Amazon placing an order for EV delivery trucks with a competitor late last week, placed Rivian’s valuation closer to $75 billion, about the same as Irvine’s Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW), which had been the most valuable public company in OC for several years. Edwards’ 2021 revenue will top $5 billion, Rivian has had just a few million of sales.

Shares of Rivian were trading slightly below their IPO price as of late last week. It’s no anomaly. Roughly two-thirds of 2021’s record crop of IPOs nationally—nearly 400, not counting SPACs—are trading below their IPO price, according to industry data.

COVID cases in OC and countrywide are clearly rapidly on the upswing; the good news is that the surge in cases has yet to result in a correlating number of serious cases, according to data from the OC Health Care Agency. See the front page for what the numbers are showing thus far in 2022.

Expect a wild ride going forward once the omicron variant fades, execs say. “Variants of COVID are here to stay,” said no less an expert than Alignment Healthcare founder and CEO John Kao, one of the four Businessperson of the Year winners. See page 8 for more.

Kao told our Peter J. Brennan that doctors that Alignment works with are still trying to figure out the right mix for in-person or virtual visits when analyzing COVID cases. Kao also said about 89% of the company’s 89,000 clients who are enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans are vaccinated.

“That’s helped keep people out of the hospital,” he said.

Gavin S. Herbert doesn’t expect to do much golfing anymore, but that’s one of the few allowances to age the founder of Allergan’s made as he approaches his 90th birthday, which comes in a few months.

Herbert still makes it to his Roger’s Gardens office four times a week or so, and needs to, with a pair of world-saving companies—one aiming to create a universal vaccine for all COVID variants, another in the environmental remediation business—in different stages of growth.

Keep an eye on future editions of the Business Journal for more on those operations.

Herbert last week told the Business Journal that he’s happy with the stewardship of the Allergan business under the current ownership of Chicago’s AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV); the nearly $240 billion-valued firm has put more into R&D; and ophthalmology than former owner Actavis, he noted.

“I kept my AbbVie stock,” he said.

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