It’s been a long, long time since there has been an IPO year as bad as this one.
According to Renaissance Capital, there have been just 43 U.S. IPOs this year which raised at least $50 million, down from 272 in 2007, and the slowest year since 1979.
Total U.S. IPO proceeds were $28 billion, down from $59.7 billion in 2007. That was the lowest total proceeds since 2003 - and if you back out the $18 billion IPO for Visa (NYSE:V), the year’s largest debut, it was the worst year since 1990. Visa was the largest IPO in any country this year, but it was the only U.S. company among the 10 largest initial offerings worldwide. (By contrast, 3 Saudi Arabian companies made the list.) Meanwhile, 87 U.S. companies filed for IPOs but then withdrew this year, up from 51 companies that canceled deals in 2007.
Some other grim tidings on the IPO market:
- Just 4 tech or communications companies came public this year, down from 69 last year.
- Proceeds for venture-backed deals totaled just $600 million, down from $10.6 billion in 2007.
- Private-equity backed companies raised $1.4 billion, down from $11.5 billion.
- Average total return for this year’s IPO class: -32%.
- The largest tech deal was GT Solar (SOLR), a provider of capital equipment to the solar industry, which sold $500 million of stock in July; the stock has since gotten caught in the solar sector downdraft and is off 82% since it came public.
- ReneSola (NYSE:SOL), a China-based solar company that raised $130 million in January, has declined 77%.
- The last significant tech IPO was Rackspace (NYSE:RAX), a Web hosting company, which raised $187.5 million in August; the stock has since dropped 51.2%.
- RiskMetrics Group (RMG), “a leading provider of risk management and governance products and services,” raised $245 million in a January IPO. The stock is down 37.5%. (One way to limit risk would have been not to buy the RiskMetrics IPO.)
- Worst deal of the year: Britannia Bulk Holdings (DWT), a shipper focused on transporting bulk commodities in and out of the Baltic region. The company raised $125 million in June, but has since fallen into default on its debt; the stock is now worthless. (At least it had a clever stock symbol: DWT stands for dead weight tonnage.)
- Internet content, commerce or social networking companies that had IPOs: None.