The IPO Buzz: Keep The Champagne On Ice

by: IPOScoop

On the first day of September, victory laps around the Wall Street arena were few and far between. There was not much to celebrate over the year’s first eight months. With the popular stock market averages in a correction (down 10 per cent or more from their previous highs) and only 37 percent of the year’s IPOs closing above their initial offering prices, no champagne corks were popped in lower Manhattan.

However, there was a message coming from this year’s IPO winners and losers.

The Winners

LinkedIn (LNKD), the social media company, topped the winner’s list with a gain of 85.7 percent from its initial offering price, and Zillow (NASDAQ:Z), an online provider of real estate information, came in a close second with a gain of 84.5 percent.

The Loser

China Century Dragon Media (NYSEMKT:CDM), a Chinese-based television advertising provider, appears to be worthless – no quote could be found for its stock. For that matter, most of 2011’s Chinese IPOs looked like something from a haunted house.

Bears in Beijing

This year, a total of 12 China-based companies have gone public in the U.S. capital markets, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. By Sept. 1, only two were winners, 10 were losers, and the average loss was 23.5 percent.

And to put the icing on the cake, Tudou Holdings (NASDAQ:TUDO), a Shanghai-based online video company in China, was the last IPO priced in the United States before the Labor Day break. On Aug. 16, the company offered 6 million shares at $29 each, the mid-point of its $28- to $30-a-share price range. The financial media reported the deal was well multi-oversubscribed. Its aftermarket performance did not reflect these bullish reports.

The IPO opened at $25.11 – down nearly 4 points from its initial offering price – and closed on Sept. 1 at $23.88, DOWN 17.7 percent from its initial offering price.

What has been overlooked is the Chinese stock market itself. It is a bear market (down 20 per cent or more from a previous high).

On Aug. 22, 2011, the China Shanghai Composite Index closed at 2,515.86, DOWN 20.4 percent from 3,159.51 on Nov. 8, 2010, its previous closing high.

On Aug. 19, 2011, the Hang Seng Index closed at 19,399.92, DOWN 22.3 percent from 24,964.37 on Nov. 8, 2010, its previous closing high.

Any way you look at it, it will take time for the Chinese stock market to dig its way out of the bear’s cave and, once accomplished, it will take a bit more time for the Chinese IPOs to stage a comeback.

(Note: Using the IPO Recovery Ratio of 3 months to 1 (for every three months of a stock market retreat, it takes one month after the low for the IPO market to start recovering) then don’t expect any Chinese IPOs until year’s end at best.)

The IPO Scorecard So Far

This brings us back to the U.S. 2011 IPO market. By Sept. 1, the calendar has produced 94 deals. The scorecard read: 35 up, 59 down, and the average gain was 0.04 percent. Nevertheless, that was better than the Nasdaq Composite Index. It was down 4.03 percent for the year. If one exed-out the Chinese IPOs, then the numbers improve to 33 up, 49 down, and the average gain was 2.39 percent.

The top winners were specialty technology companies – LinkedIn and Zillow. There are a few more in the pipeline waiting to come public.

The big names are Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Zynga (ZYNG). But let’s not forget Demandware (NYSE:DWRE).

On July 15, 2011, Demandware filed for an IPO to raise $100 million. The company, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, is a provider of software e-commerce solutions that let companies design, implement and manage its own customized e-commerce sites. Demandware, founded in 2004, has about 187 employees. The company reported a net loss of $1.9 million on revenues of $24.5 million for the six months ended June 30, 2011, compared with a net loss of $871,000 on revenue of $15.3 million for the same period a year ago.

Currently, the pipeline has a backlog of over 200 companies looking to go public and expecting to raise about $37 billion. There’s still enough time left in the year for that victory lap and a few champagne toasts.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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