US IPO Market Restarts As 5 Deals Launch

Steven Bobson, Europe & Americas Editor
September 10, 2012 /

After a brief August hiatus, the US IPO calendar started building again as five companies set pricing terms and kicked off their investor roadshows.

The first to set terms was a major Mexican bank, Santander Mexico (BSMX), whose proposed $2.8 billion US listing would make it the second largest US IPO of the year. The resumption in IPO activity came at a time of increasingly strong performance for US IPOs. The 22 IPOs since May are now up an average of 31% from their offer prices, compared to 18% just two weeks ago, and the average aftermarket return is up to 17% from 5% two weeks ago.

Of the 22 deals, 19 are trading above their offer prices (86% vs. 61% year-to-date). This favorable trading backdrop, combined with a spate of filings in August (17, the 2nd highest total year-to-date) and an already large backlog, could set the stage for a busy end to 2012.

Deal sizes remain small

Other than Santander Mexico, which is being spun off from Spain’s Banco Santander, each of the new IPOs plans to raise less than $100 million, continuing the trend of smaller deal sizes in 2012 (49% have raised $100 million or less vs. 33% in 2011).

Smith Electric Vehicles, which manufactures commercial electric vehicles in the US and Europe, is seeking $76 million. The remaining three were previously confidential filers: Real estate listings company Trulia and biotechs GlobeImmune and Regulus Therapeutics hope to raise $90 million, $60 million and $50 million, respectively.

US IPO Index outperforms in August

The strong returns this week were a continuation of high aftermarket returns in August. The FTSE Renaissance US IPO Index outperformed last month with a return of +3% (Russell 3000; +2%). Strong index returns were largely attributable to strength in the consumer goods sector.

Global luxury fashion brand Michael Kors ( KORS ) was one of the index’s best performers in August (31% return) after the company reported exceptionally strong earnings. Several technology companies also made strong contributions to index returns in August, including flash storage vendor Fusion-io (+47%), Chinese mobile security provider Qihoo 360 Technology (+52%), and global chip manufacturer NXP Semiconductors (+15%).

Two top performing IPOs report next week

Next week, two of the summer’s best performing IPOs will face high expectations in their first earnings reports as public companies. Network security company Palo Alto Networks ( PANW ), which is up 68% from its offer price, and discount retailer Five Below ( FIVE ), which is up 108%, both rose 10% this week and will both report after the close on Monday.

Both companies are trading at meaningful valuation premiums to their public peers, largely reflecting investors’ hunger for outsized growth.

Only one company added to the pipeline

Only one company, Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT), filed this week, ending a recent surge in pipeline activity. For the first time since the passage of the JOBS Act, the public US IPO pipeline rose last month to 149. More than half of the month’s 17 filings came from previously confidential filers, which could move forward quickly.

Friday’s launches by Trulia and Regulus came exactly 21 days after their first public filings, which is the minimum amount of time required under the JOBS Act. Given the rumored activity among confidential filers, however, we suspect more new filings to emerge in the coming weeks (e.g., MGM and Fairway Market).

US IPO market update

To date, the 91 IPOs in 2012 have gained 19% on average, with an average aftermarket return of 3%. The US IPO pipeline currently stands at 150, representing $46.7 billion in estimated proceeds.


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