IPO Activity Continues Slide, Falling 20% in Q2

Survey confirms trend away from IPOs as companies turn to other capital sources including private equity.
Matthew HellerJuly 2, 2015

Initial public offering activity in the United States continues to lag, falling 20% in the second quarter of 2015 compared to a year earlier and 32% so far this year, according to a new survey.

Sixty-nine companies priced in the second quarter, compared to 86 in Q2 2014, but the survey from consulting firm CohnReznick also showed a slight improvement over Q1 2015, which saw a 46% drop in IPO activity compared to 2014.

Based on trends in the first half of the year, the United States is on track to tally 208 IPOs at the end of 2015, compared to 307 at the end of 2014 and 255 at the end of 2013.

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“The data confirms what we are seeing in the market. Companies do not need to complete the public offering process to raise capital,” Alex Castelli, partner and co-leader of CohnReznick’s National Liquidity and Capital Formation Advisory Group, said in a news release.

According to Castelli, companies that may have been IPO candidates in the past have become investment targets of financial investors like private equity groups, as well as acquisition targets for strategic investors. “With valuations in the private market so high, companies are less motivated to pursue an IPO,” he explained.

On the value side, the average proceeds per middle-market IPO increased year over year by 39% in Q2 2015 to $136 million. Middle-market companies are those with market caps between $10 million and $2 billion post-IPO.

“Most companies that chose to move forward with the IPO process this quarter have received a warm welcome from investors, which is an indicator of the investment community’s continued interest and confidence in new issues,” Castelli said.

But middle-market IPO activity, a bellwether for broader economic growth, decreased by 12% in the second quarter. The healthcare and life sciences sectors represented 43% of all middle-market IPO activity compared to 38% in Q2 2014.