In both volume and proceeds, initial public offerings in the United States recently concluded their best first quarter in the past seven years, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In the first three months of this year, 64 IPOs raised $12.1 billion, compared with 54 offerings and $11.6 billion in the first quarter of 2006. In the fourth quarter of 2007 — a time when many underwriters seek to finalize deals before year-end — $19.7 billion was raised from 89 IPOs.

Equities markets in general enjoyed a strong first quarter, making it easier for underwriters to bring deals to market. The average deal size of $190 million, however, trailed the $216 million for the first quarter of 2006 and the $221 million for the fourth quarter.

Other notable findings:

• Financial sponsors backed 40 percent of all IPOs in the first quarter and raised 55 percent of proceeds.
• The five largest deals accounted for 34 percent of proceeds in the first quarter this year, compared with 32 percent in the fourth quarter and 36 percent a year earlier.
• By far the largest IPO was the $1.64 billion offering of CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust, which seeks to track the price of the yen.
• The largest corporate IPO was by National Cinemedia, a marketing firm that raised about $800 million.
• Among the top 10 deals, 3 were in financial services, 3 were in communications, 2 were in real estate and construction, and 1 each was in energy and business services; a year ago the top 10 included 4 energy IPOs but none in financial services.

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