The initial public offering market continues to attract bigger deals, and more of them. The first quarter of 2005 saw 43 IPOs, the same as the total for the first three months of 2004.
The average deal size for the first quarter this year was 25 percent larger — $251.4 million compared with $201.1 million — than for the 2004 period, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers quarterly survey of IPO activity. The total value of these deals rose to $10.8 billion in the first quarter of 2005 from $8.6 billion in the first three months of 2004.
In 2003, when the overall stock market was just beginning to resuscitate, only six IPOs were announced, with a total value of $1.6 billion.
“This appears to confirm our observation at the end of last year that larger, more established companies have returned to the U.S. capital markets,” asserted Scott Gehsmann, North American leader of PwC’s Global Capital Markets Group.
Sometimes, of course, one or two gargantuan deals can skew the data. PwC pointed out, however, that this year only the Huntsman Corp offering ($1.4 billion) topped the billion-dollar mark; last year saw two such deals. And this year the top five IPOs accounted for 42 percent of the capital raised, compared with 61 percent during the first quarter of 2004. Further, the median deal size rose to $123 million from $85 million.
Other large IPOs in this year’s first quarter included PanAmSat Holding Corp. ($900 million), Celanese ($800 million), Fieldstone Investment Corp. ($758 million), Wright Express Corp. ($720 million), and Alpha Natural Resources ($560.5 million).
Biotechnology and communications were the most active industries, PwC pointed out. For biotech, this activity reflects fewer but larger transactions: six this year, valued at $699 million, compared with eight last year, valued at $549 million.