With Alibaba Group Holdings Inc. leading the charge, the tech sector stole the IPO buzz from fashion companies in 2014.
Just a few fashion firms got in the game, with only Jimmy Choo, raising $227 million, and Western apparel retailer Boot Barn, raising $80 million, completing initial public offerings. That could change next year, when firms including TPG and Leonard Green Holdings review their options for J. Crew Inc., once thought to be an IPO candidate this year.
While Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in September grabbed all the headlines, also unusual was the high number of Chinese e-commerce firms electing to list on American exchanges. That was due in part to perceived limitations in connection with listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as well as the belief that U.S. investors tend to be more receptive to investments based on the potential of future earnings.
According to IPO investment advisory firm Renaissance Capital, the American IPO market saw 273 firms priced so far this year, raising $84.8 billion to date. Globally, including the U.S. market, 368 IPOs have been priced and $202.3 billion has been raised to date. North America represented 38.8 percent of global proceeds raised. The bulk of the IPO pipeline was backed by private equity firms looking to exit their investments.
Among tech firms going public in the U.S. were Cnova, the e-tail operation of French retail giant Casino, raising $187.6 million; Weibo, the Chinese microblogging site, raising $380 million; Beijing-based e-commerce cosmetics firm Jumei.com, raising $245.1 million; JD.com, Chinese e-commerce firm and Alibaba’s chief competitor, raising $1.78 billion, and Borderfree Inc., the cross-border, e-commerce services provider, raising $80 million.
Overseas, British fast-fashion e-tailer Boohoo.com raised $498 million, while German online retailer Zalando raised $765.4 million. Zalando is a product of Rocket Internet, a tech-firm pseudo-incubator that launches clones of proven business models. Rocket Internet itself raised $8.2 billion when it completed its IPO. MySale Group, which operates flash-sale sites in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, raised $70 million.