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THE STATE OF SMALL BUSINESS

Report: Best Year for IPOs Since 2004
 

Government shutdown, be damned: 2013 was the best year for going public in almost a decade, according to a new report.

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If Twitter's rather seamless IPO wasn't convincing enough, here comes a new report with more evidence: 2013 was a great year for going public.

According to an Ernst & Young report, released Tuesday, it was the best year for IPOs since 2004, as businesses overcame obstacles like the fourth quarter government shutdown and filed for a nearly decade-high record of IPOs.

By the end of 2013, the report says a projected 222 companies will have gone public. That's a 67 percent increase from 2012, when just 133 companies filed for IPO. These companies weren't just flopping on the public markets either. The report shows they yielded higher average first day returns than newly public companies did in 2012.

According to Ernst & Young's America's IPO Leader Jackie Kelley, 2013 saw a number of factors come together to support companies looking to go public. Economic conditions were strong and market volatility was low, and as companies continued to demonstrate sturdy post-IPO performances, it kept the ball rolling. Kelley adds, "We also had a huge backlog of private equity investments over the last five to seven years, and private equity firms are now looking to exit those investments." Indeed, 40 percent of the companies that went public this year were backed by private equity firms.

The best part is, this winning streak isn't over yet, according to Kelley. "The fact that we have a strong Q4 this year will boost the momentum going into 2014," she predicts.

Together the 222 companies that went public raised some $59.7 billion. While this year did see some high profile consumer-facing IPOs of companies like Twitter and Zulily, healthcare companies had the most public offerings, followed by high technology, and energy. But as sectors begin to blur (who can really distinguish a high tech company from a consumer products company these days?) and companies begin to identify themselves by a variety of sectors, there may be a shuffling of the deck in terms of which companies succeed in future IPOs. "The sector blurring will create some interesting IPO activity over the next year or so," Kelley predicts. "We'll have some really disruptive, innovative companies, and people will be saying, 'What are they?'"

As for that small matter of the government shutting down this year? Kelley says most companies saw it coming and raced to get their paperwork in order beforehand, so by the time the government did close for business, Kelley says, "It was a non-event."

Last updated: Dec 10, 2013




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