The feverish pace of initial public offerings and venture funding took a break in the first quarter but the markets still remain strong, says global professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers, which released its quarterly survey of IPO activity on Tuesday.
The first quarter saw 41 IPOs, compared to 76 in the fourth quarter of 2014, and 71 in the first quarter of 2014, PwC says. Collectively they raised $6.2 billion, down 44 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014.
Financial services and tech companies led the way, amassing half the dollar value raised for IPOs in the quarter, although that’s down by more than a fourth compared to the first quarter of 2014.
One important factor that might have led to fewer IPOs in the first quarter was timing of paperwork, says Neil Dhar, a partner and U.S. Capital Markets leader for PwC’s deals practice. Private companies that want to go public may wait until they can file a full four quarters of financial results with the SEC. The complete data can make a better case for the company with potential investors. But a full four quarters of data might not be available as early as the first quarter, Dhar says.
Adds Dhar, a good year typically has 225 to 250 IPOs, and 2014 had 300. So 2015 isn’t necessarily off to a bad start with more than three dozen IPOs so far.
An equally important measure of the strength of the markets is the amount of money that newly public companies raise in follow-on rounds to their IPOs, Dhar says. Such companies raised $70 billion of capital in the first quarter of 2015, more than double the amount they raised in the fourth quarter of 2014, and an increase of 75 percent compared to the amount raised through secondary rounds during the first three months of 2014.
“IPOs are doing well in the marketplace, and they are coming back to the market to raise more money, and more equity capital,” Dhar says.