The IPO market continued at a measured pace in March, producing nine IPOs. With a total of 20 IPOs in the first quarter of the year, US IPO activity in 2013 was at half the level of the comparable period in 2012, although gross proceeds were up slightly from the first quarter of 2012. The strong finish to the quarter, recent uptick in filings and low level of withdrawals in recent months, however, point to increased deal flow later this year absent a retrenchment in the capital markets.
The average Q1 2013 IPO enjoyed a 19% first-day gain from its offering price and tacked on a further 4% by quarter-end. The best performing IPO of the quarter was 3D printing company ExOne (up 86% from its offering price by quarter-end) followed by a trio of goods and services companies—Boise Cascade Company (up 62%), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (up 56%) and Bright Horizons Family Solutions (up 54%).
Technology-related companies (including life sciences companies) dominated the IPO market in Q1 2013, accounting for 65% of all offerings in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 58% for all of 2012. The median annual revenue of IPO companies dropped 53%, from $133.6 million in 2012 to $62.9 million in the first quarter of 2013, and the percentage of profitable companies going public fell from 55% to 40%—the lowest level for both statistics since 2000.
Thumbnail sketches of March’s IPOs follow:
- The month’s activity got underway with the smallest IPO of the year to date ($21.0 million), by minority focused online networking and job posting company Professional Diversity Network. Despite pricing below the range, the company traded below its offering price on the first day.
- Equities-focused investment management firm Artisan Partners priced above the range and followed that with the best first day performance from a US-based asset manager in at least 15 years. The company ended its opening day of trading 29% above its offering price.
- Energy-technology company Silver Spring Networks—a provider of hardware, software and services for “smart grids”—upsized by almost a third and priced at the midpoint of the range. The stock traded up 29% on its opening day but shed most of that gain in the aftermarket by month-end.
- Model N—a provider of revenue management software to the life science and technology sectors—priced above the range and was the third IPO in a row to end its first day of trading 29% above its offering price.
- The month then saw IPOs by a pair of biopharmaceutical companies. Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals priced below the range but maintained the original target for gross proceeds. After pricing at the low end of the range, Enanta Pharmaceuticals increased 23% in first-day trading.
- Cloud-based digital ad management firm Marin Software priced an upsized IPO above the range, generating gross proceeds 25% higher than originally planned, and still gained 16% in first-day trading.
- March ended with a pair of PE-backed IPOs. West Corporation—a provider of communications solutions—came to market below the range and ended its first day of trading 6% below its offering price. Packaged and frozen foods company Pinnacle Foods fared better, pricing at the high end of the range and ending its first trading day 11% above its offering price.