According to Renaissance Capital (here), in the heady days during the two-year period 2020 and 2021, 618 traditional U.S. IPOs were completed, raising over $220 billion. (These stats do not include SPAC IPOs). By contrast, in the period 2022-2023 YTD, there have only been 171 traditional U.S. IPOs completed, raising just $27 billion. While many market observers yearn for a return of the buoyant IPO market that prevailed two years ago, signs are that it could be a while before the IPO market takes off again. As detailed in a November 14, 2023, Wall Street Journal article about the state of the IPO market, and as discussed below, there are a host of concerns weighing on the IPO market.Continue Reading It Could be a While Before a Buoyant IPO Market Returns
In recent months, IPO activity has reached levels “not seen since the dot-com era,” according to a recent report on the IPO market. On November 3, 2020, the IPO Tracker reported that October was the busiest month for IPOs in 20 years. As discussed below, all this IPO activity may foretell the possibility of increased IPO-related securities litigation ahead.
According to the IPO Tracker, there were 85 IPOs completed in October 2020, which is “the busiest single month for IPOs in 20 years” – surpassing even September 2020’s totals, which had been the busiest month in that period. The October surge brings the 2020 YTD total through year’s first ten months to 351 completed offerings, which surpasses “every yearly total since 2000.”
Continue Reading Does Increased IPO Activity Foreshadow Increased IPO-Related Securities Litigation Ahead?
For everyone involved in the public company D&O arena, IPOs are a continuing source of interest and concern. An important part of thinking about IPO companies and their D&O risk profile in understanding what is going on in the IPO marketplace. On March 6, 2019, the Proskauer Rose law issued its annual analysis of the 2018 U.S. IPO activity. The report provides an interesting overview of the important characteristics of 2018 IPOs. The IPO report can be found here. The law firm’s March 6, 2019 press release about the report can be found here.
Continue Reading A Closer Look at 2018 IPOs
One of the recurring themes of financial commentators has been the decline in the number of IPOs compared to prior years. Articles about the dearth of IPOs are something of a staple in the financial press. The decline in the number of IPOs has also drawn the attention of Congress. One of the intended purposes of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 was to try to encourage more companies to go public. A number of other initiatives to try to encourage more IPOs are currently circulating through Congress. The premise behind these various legislative initiatives is that if the regulatory burdens can be eliminated and costs reduced, more companies will go public. Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee recently testified before a Congressional committee about these latest initiatives. His testimony is set out in a May 29, 2018 CLS Blue Sky Blog article entitled “The Irrepresssible Myth That SEC Overregulation Has Chilled IPOs” (here), reflecting his skepticism that further deregulation alone will result in increased numbers of IPOs.
Continue Reading Is Over-Regulation Really the Reason There are Fewer IPOs?
Between 1996 and 2016, the number of U.S. listed companies declined by about 50 percent. There are now fewer U.S. listed companies than there were in 1976. Some observers have raised the alarm about this decline. For example, SEC Chair Jay Clayton in a speech last summer called the decline in the number of U.S. listed companies “a serious issue for our markets and the country.” But before we can decide whether or not the lower number of public companies is a problem, much less what to do about it, we need to take a look at what is happening and why it is happening. A closer look suggests that the situation is more complex than it might appear at first glimpse.
Continue Reading Fewer U.S. Listed Companies – Is That a Problem?
Most informed observers know that IPO companies are more susceptible to securities class action litigation than are more seasoned companies. IPO companies usually have short operating histories and so their post-offering performance can be unpredictable and may include unexpected developments. When IPO companies stumble out of the blocks, they can attract a securities suit just a short time after their debut. An example of this occurred earlier this year when Snap, Inc. was hit with a securities suit two months after its IPO. A more recent example of this sequence involved Blue Apron Holdings, which this past week was hit with a securities suit just seven weeks after its IPO. These cases underscore the securities litigation vulnerability of IPO companies, which in turn has important implications.
Continue Reading When IPO Companies Stumble Out of the Blocks
In the following guest post, attorneys from the Paul Weiss law firm review and analyze a November 3, 2016 Second Circuit decision (here) in which the appellate court held that the standard pre-IPO lock-up agreements between a company’s pre-IPO shareholders and the company’s lead IPO underwriters do not make those parties a “group” within Section 13(d) of the ’34 Act, and therefore that the lock-up agreement alone is insufficient to trigger Section 16(b) short-swing profit liability. I would like to thank the Paul Weiss attorneys for their willingness to allow me to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the Paul Weiss attorneys’ guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: IPO Lock-Up Agreement Parties Not a “Group” Liable for Short-Swing Profits
IPO activity so far this year is well off the pace compared to this time a year ago. According to Renaissance Capital, as of last Friday, there have only been 16 IPOs in 2016, compared to 45 at this point last year, representing a decline of 71%. Indeed, when cybersecurity firm Secure Works Corp. completed its IPO last Thursday, it was the first tech IPO in over four months – and its debut was less than encouraging, as the offering priced below the targeted range. In an environment like this, companies whose strategies included an IPO may find that their plan to go public is simply no longer a realistic – or even desirable – option.
Among the many consequences that may befall a company whose IPO plans are sidetracked is the possibility that it may face claims from disappointed investors who assert that the company and its senior officials should be held liable to them for their losses arising from the company’s failure to launch. As discussed below, a recently filed lawsuit underscores the susceptibility of pre-IPO companies to these kinds of claims, which in turn highlights some important D&O insurance considerations for these kinds of companies.
Continue Reading When Pre-IPO Companies Fail to Launch
The IPO market in the U.S. is off to a slow start in 2016; according to Renaissance Capital, only eight offerings have priced so far this year, through March 29, 2016. The IPO slowdown actually began in the second half of 2015, when market volatility and stock price declines encouraged some prospective IPO companies to stay on the sidelines rather than complete their planned offering. But while the number of IPOs in 2015 declined compared to the immediately preceding years, there still were a number of interesting IPO trends during 2015, as detailed in a March 24, 2016 report from the Wilmer Hale law firm entitled “2016 IPO Report” (here). As discussed below, the report describes a number of the important characteristics of the 2015 IPOs. The report also contains some interesting discussion of the attributes of successful IPOs and an overview of the potential liabilities of directors of IPO companies.
Continue Reading Overview of 2015 IPOs
Though the number of IPOs completed so far this year is below the elevated levels evidenced during 2014 and 2013, IPO activity still remains above 2008-2012 levels. As a direct reflection of the higher number of IPOs completed during the period 2013-15, we are also now seeing an increase in the numbers of IPO-related securities lawsuit filings. IPO-related suits were an important part of the 2014 securities class action lawsuit filings, and they represent an even more significant part of 2015 YTD securities suit filings.
Continue Reading 2015 YTD Securities Suit Filings Reflect Increased Numbers of IPO-Related Lawsuits