IPO research and tracking firm Renaissance Capital said 2017 could mark the end to the U.S. initial public offering recession that began in August 2015 through 2016.
While tech-related firms are expected to comprise the mega IPO filings, others to keep an eye on for 2017 include Canada Goose, Authentic Brands Group and J. Jill.
According to Renaissance’s data, proceeds from the U.S. IPO market fell to a seven-year low, with activity the worst since 2009. Proceeds in 2016 totaled $18.9 billion, with 108 IPOs completed. That compares with $21.9 billion in 2009 and 63 deals. The last time IPO proceeds were lower was in 2003 when the total was $15.2 billion from 68 deals.
A first-quarter market free-fall, the Brexit vote in the second quarter and the U.S. presidential election in the fourth quarter all contributed to the malaise. With Snap, Spotify and other mega tech IPOs planning to head to the public markets, Renaissance said the two-year drought in technology offerings, the sector it calls the bread and butter of the IPO market, could be ending next year.
Renaissance said most sectors saw IPO activity decline for the second year in a row. It noted that VC-backed tech companies chose to avoid public-market valuations and had the luxury of remaining private due to ample cash on hand. Further, mergers and acquisitions took some firms that originally had filed for IPOs out of the pipeline.
Renaissance noted that private equity-backed IPO activity ends 2016 at multiyear lows for both deal count and proceeds. “Outside of cosmetics brand E.l.f. Beauty, private equity-backed growth companies largely stayed private to avoid public market valuation pressure,” the research firm said. It noted that industry and company-specific issues caused five large LBOs to continue to delay offerings in 2016 — including Neiman Marcus — that could have collectively raised $5 billion.
Venture capital-backed IPO activity declined to the lowest level of activity since 2009 for both IPO count and proceeds raised. Nearly 50 percent of the 42 IPOs that were venture capital-backed were biotechs, and only 10 deals raised more than 100 million. The technology sector was the main reason for VC weakness, with just 15 IPOs, down from a multiyear low of 20 in 2015.
Among those on Renaissance’s private company watch list of mega-tech firms that have either selected banks or filed confidentially, Snap is expected to file for an offering in the first half of 2017. Renaissance said the company could raise $4 billion at a valuation of more than $25 billion. Another is Spotify, which raised $1 billion in convertible debt financing in March 2016 — a move that Renaissance said “guarantees an imminent IPO.”
Other companies on the mega tech watchlist include Uber, Pinterest, Dropbox and Airbnb. Renaissance’s list of non-mega tech companies expected to seek 2017 IPOs — in addition to Canada Goose, Authentic Brands Group and J. Jill — include youth media firm Vice Media, home meal prep firm Blue Apron and retail data compilation firm Information Resources.