After entering April at a torrid pace, the IPO market was cooled by twin headwinds from weakening capital market conditions and worsening aftermarket performance. The month produced 22 IPOs in the first half but a mere pair in the last two weeks. Still, April’s total of 24 IPOs was the highest monthly tally since May 2007, and only seven months since the end of 2000 have exceeded April’s count.
The first four months of 2014 have produced 84 IPOs, more than double the annual average of 39 IPOs for the comparable period over the prior four years.
Gross proceeds of $7.14 billion in April brought the total for the first four months of 2014 to $16.69 billion—93% above the $8.66 billion raised by the 30 IPOs in the first four months of 2013.
The percentage of IPOs by emerging growth companies (EGCs) has continued its climb, accounting for 89% of IPOs in the first four months of 2014 compared to 82% in all of 2013 and 76% in the portion of 2012 that followed enactment of the JOBS Act.
The number of IPOs by venture capital–backed US issuers soared from 12 in the first four months of 2013 to 45 in the first four months of 2014—the highest tally through the first four months of the year since 2000. The number of IPOs by private equity–backed US issuers increased from 12 in the first four months of 2013 to 15 in the first four months of 2014, although two shy of the 17 in the first four months of 2012.
VC-backed and PE-backed company IPOs accounted for 66% and 22%, respectively, of all US issuer IPOs in the first four months of 2014.
April produced seven IPOs by life sciences companies, bringing the year-to-date count to 38 IPOs—45% of all US IPOs in 2014. The reception given to the seven, however, points to the challenges other life sciences companies may face over the remainder of 2014. Six of the seven priced below the range, and only one ended its first trading day above its offering price—two were flat and the remaining four ended their first day of trading down an average of 8%.
Overall, broadly-defined technology and life sciences companies have accounted for 77% of the year’s IPOs, up from 59% over the prior three-year period and representing the highest annual percentage since the end of the dot-com bubble in 2000.
With a median offering size of $54.5 million, IPOs by life sciences companies caused the median offering size for all IPOs to contract by 13%, from $107.4 million in full year 2013 to $93.2 million in the first four months of 2014—the lowest yearly figure since the $89.3 million median offering size in 2004.
The median deal size for VC-backed companies in the first four months of 2014 was $73.5 million—the lowest level since the $72.0 million median in 2006—while the median deal size for non-VC backed companies was $163.6 million. The median deal size for EGCs was $85.9 million compared to $704.0 million for other IPO companies.
The shift in the percentage of profitable IPO companies and the median annual revenue of IPO companies from 2013 to 2014 is more stark. The percentage of profitable IPO companies declined from 43% for full-year 2013 to 30% for the first four months of 2014—only slightly higher than the 26% that prevailed at the height of the dot-com boom in 1999 and 2000. The median annual revenue of IPO companies fell by 39%, from $89.9 million for full-year 2013 to $55.2 million for the first four months of 2014—the median 2014 life sciences IPO company having annual revenue of less than $1 million.
The average IPO company in April 2014 ended its first day of trading with a 10% gain, compared to an average first-day gain of 21% for IPOs in the first quarter of 2014 and IPOs in all of 2013. Year-to-date, 26% of IPOs were “broken” (closing below the offering price on the first day), representing the highest percentage of broken IPOs since the 31% in 2010.
The average 2014 IPO ended the month only 8% above its offering price. While this result topped the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite Index by a fair margin, IPOs remain far from guaranteed winners. At April month-end, 44% of all 2014 IPOs were trading below their offering price.
The 2014 IPO class is not alone in facing challenging capital market conditions. The average 2013 IPO shed 7% of its price over the first four months of 2014—67% trading below their 2013 close at the end of April 2014.
Filing activity, however, continued at a brisk pace in April—a reflection that many view the currently inhospitable capital market conditions as only a passing squall. Those companies that push to complete IPOs in the near future may have to be more flexible in their pricing expectations.
IPO activity in April consisted of offerings by the following companies listed in the order they came to market:
- The Rubicon Project, a provider of a highly scalable software platform that powers and optimizes a leading marketplace for the real time trading of digital advertising between buyers and sellers, priced at the low end of the range and gained 34% on its first day of trading.
- Corium International, a commercial stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacture and commercialization of specialty pharmaceutical products that leverages its broad experience in transdermal and transmucosal delivery systems, priced an IPO upsized by 18% below the range and ended its first day of trading flat.
- Tarena International, a leading provider of professional education services in China, priced at the midpoint of the range and eked out a gain of less than 1% on its first day of trading.
- Five9, a leading provider of cloud software for contact centers, priced below the range and ended its first day with a gain of 9% from its offering price.
- GrubHub, the leading online and mobile platform for restaurant pick-up and delivery orders, priced an IPO upsized by 5% above an upwardly revised priced range and produced a first-day gain of 31%.
- IMS Health Holdings, a leading global information and technology services company providing clients in the healthcare industry with comprehensive solutions to measure and improve their performance, priced within the range and gained 15% on its first day of trading.
- Opower, a leading provider of cloud-based software to the utility industry, priced at the high end of the range and ended its first day up 21% from its offering price.
- iKang Healthcare Group, the largest provider in China’s fast growing private preventive healthcare services market, priced at the high end of the range and produced a first-day gain of 9%.
- La Quinta Holdings, a leading owner, operator and franchisor of select-service hotels primarily serving the midscale and upper-midscale segments, priced an IPO upsized by 3% below the range and ended its first day of trading with a gain of less than 1%.
- Adamas Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company driven to improve the lives of those affected by chronic disorders of the central nervous system, priced at the low end of the range and declined 12% on its first day of trading.
- Ally Financial, one of the largest providers of automotive financing products, including wholesale loans and retail loans and leases, priced at the low end of the range and ended its first day down 4% from its offering price.
- Cerulean Pharma, a clinical-stage oncology-focused company applying its proprietary dynamic tumor targeting platform to develop differentiated therapies, priced an IPO below the range but upsized by 70% to maintain expected proceeds and declined 2% on its first day of trading.
- Phibro Animal Health, one of the leading animal health companies in the world that is dedicated to helping meet the growing demand for animal protein, priced below the range and ended its first day of trading with a gain of 13%.
- Zoe’s Kitchen, a fast growing, fast casual restaurant concept serving a distinct menu of fresh, wholesome, Mediterranean-inspired dishes delivered with Southern hospitality, priced at the top of the range and produced a first-day gain of 65%.
- Paycom Software, a leading provider of a comprehensive, cloud-based human capital management SaaS software solution, priced below the range and gained 2% on its first day of trading.
- Moelis & Company, a leading global independent investment bank, priced an IPO downsized by 11% below the range and ended its first day of trading up 5%.
- TriVascular Technologies, a medical device company developing and commercializing innovative technologies to significantly advance minimally invasive treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms, priced below the range and gained 15% on its first trading day.
- Leju Holdings, a leading online-to-offline real estate services provider in China, priced at the low end of the range and produced a first-day gain of 19%.
- Sabre, a leading technology solutions provider to the global travel and tourism industry, priced an IPO downsized by 12% below the range and ended its first day up 3% from its offering price.
- Sportsman's Warehouse, a high-growth outdoor sporting goods retailer focused on meeting the everyday needs of the seasoned outdoor veteran, the first-time participant and every enthusiast in between, priced below the range and gained 3% on its first day of trading.
- Vital Therapies, a biotherapeutic company focused on developing a cell-based therapy targeting the treatment of all forms of acute liver failure, priced below a downwardly revised price range and ended its first day flat.
- Weibo, a leading social media platform for people to create, distribute and discover Chinese-language content, priced an IPO downsized by 16% at the bottom of the range—nonetheless, the largest IPO by a Chinese issuer since 2011—and produced a first-day gain of 19%.
- Quotient, an established, commercial-stage diagnostics company committed to reducing healthcare costs and improving patient care through the development and commercialization of innovative tests for blood grouping and serological disease screening, priced at the expected price and declined 7% on its first day of trading.
- Lombard Medical, a medical technology company specializing in developing, manufacturing and marketing endovascular stent-grafts that address significant unmet needs in the repair of aortic aneurysms, priced at the expected price and ended its first day of trading down 9% from its offering price.