Press release

Stars align and 2013 proves to be hottest US IPO market since 2004 — momentum continues in 2014

New York, 10 December, 2013

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The market environment delivered all of the right signals in 2013, presenting a long-awaited window of opportunity for IPOs. With a calmer economic climate, companies looking to go public were seemingly unphased by the 4th quarter government shutdown.

This, combined with low volatility and a huge backlog of PE-backed IPOs seeking an exit, brought IPOs back with a bang: 222 IPOs in total will go effective in 2013 raising proceeds of $59.7 billion1, with 76 deals in the public pipeline at the end of Q4. Activity and momentum in 2014 are only expected to continue.

  • PE-backed IPOs dominate with most active year since 2007
  • 2013: year of the healthcare IPO
  • “Blurring” of technology and other industries lead to interesting implications for IPOs

“Investors have had the opportunity to engage with a variety of companies in the pipeline and their appetite for risk has returned,” said Jackie Kelley, for the global EY organization. “Unlike five years ago when, for the most part, tech companies were the only ones getting out, we now see pockets of activity in multiple sectors. This was a standout year for healthcare, for example. VC-backed companies came back to market and PE-backed IPOs will continue to push into 2014.”

Year over year, the number of IPOs increased 67%, from 133 in 2012 to 222 in 2013. Proceeds increased 28%. Quarter over quarter, there were 67 IPOs in Q4 2013 compared with 33 in Q4 2012, an increase of 103%, with proceeds up 171%; additionally, the number of IPOs in Q4 increased by 12%, and proceeds increased by 96% when compared with Q3 2013.

IPOs from around the world
The US continues to attract IPOs from around the world as companies seek to capitalize on the momentum of the US capital markets. For example, 36 out of 222 US IPOs were cross-border IPOs, ie 16% of US exchanges IPOs by deal number and 11% by capital raised (US$6.7b raised) were from foreign private issuers. This compares to 9% of US IPOs by deal number and 12% by capital raised in 2012.

The IPO market surge in the US, positive investor sentiment for this asset class and appetite for global investment makes the US attractive and much more competitive than their domestic markets.

PE-backed IPOs Dominate:
PE activity provided a key source of IPO-related exits this year. As an indicator of the volume, in 2007, the peak year for PE-backed IPOs, there were 94 deals with proceeds of $20.3 billion. In 2013, by contrast, of the 222 IPOs, 94 were PE-backed and valued at $32.8 billion. An impressive 42% of all US IPOs were from PE backed companies.

Large offerings in the oil and gas sector drove the trend, collectively raising $5.8 billion. And despite relatively robust levels of exit activity over the last two years, there remains a significant backlog of PE exits that will continue to spur IPO activity into 2014. Multiple PE firms raised upwards of $10 billion in 2013, a sign of optimism for future deal making. While the increased interest in IPOs is a positive development for PE exits, an uptick in M&A will ultimately be required to fully liquidate the current PE portfolio.

Healthcare on Top:
After being sidelined for almost 10 years, the healthcare sector came back to market in a big way in 2013. Most of the healthcare companies in the pipeline were smaller IPOs that really benefitted from the JOBS Act, legislation put in place over a year ago easing the IPO path for companies with post-IPO market cap size of less than $1 billion.

However, investors, chasing healthcare IPOs for their great performance and the substantive products they are developing, may not stick around if market volatility heats up again. Other sectors rounding out the top five include: Technology, Energy and Power, Real Estate and Financial Services.

Emerging IPO Companies Will Blur Distinctions Between Sectors: The growing convergence between technology companies and other industries is creating new opportunities for companies to add shareholder value via the capital markets. “We expect to see more blurring of tech and other industries -- including consumer products, media, real estate, financial services” said Kelley. “Companies in these “blurred” industries, meaning they can cross over into two different sectors, are coming to market. They will have a choice under which sector to list and it’s likely that valuation will be a key driver.”

As more consumers utilize mobile and cloud technology to get what they want and faster, emerging IPO companies coming to market will be more focused on creating direct touch points with consumers, eliminating the middle man to bring suppliers and customers closer together, according to Kelley. She suggests we can expect to see more companies offering personalized products or a more personal user experience, such as making personal and business transactions faster, simpler and more secure; building customer trust; and delivering quality content and insight for users.

2014 Looking Ahead:
As 2014 rides the performance wave of 2013, the future looks bright for the IPO pipeline. Investors will look to the IPO market to drive portfolio growth. Inbound interest has piqued, with companies in Europe, the Middle East and South America looking to list on the U.S. markets –driven by the high valuations companies have garnered and good post-IPO performances over the past year.

“IPOs in 2014 will be a combination of household names, as well as disruptive, innovative companies. The backlog of PE-backed IPOs will continue to push into 2014 and companies blurred by sector convergence will drive market activity, all making for another exciting year,” concluded Kelley.

Notes to editors
All Data sourced from Dealogic.

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1 Data are completed IPOs through December 5, 2013 and projected IPOs in December, 2013

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