The report, Key Metrics for Technology and Life Sciences Initial Public Offerings, analyzed the technology and life sciences IPOs completed in the United States in the first and second quarters of 2016. It is authored by Fenwick partners Jeffrey Vetter and Daniel J. Winnike.
“The sharp decline in U.S. equity markets at the beginning of 2016 ushered in the slowest yearly start for technology and life sciences IPOs since the collapse of the markets back in 2008 to 2009,” Winnike said. Winnike also noted that the market’s subsequent rebound did little to accelerate the pace of IPO activity, although the four technology IPOs in the first half all priced in the second quarter of 2016.
“While the IPO market is showing some signs of life – especially in the second quarter of 2016 – the overall pipeline remains modest,” Vetter noted. “We’re seeing many companies waiting to pursue an IPO and instead considering other options such as mergers and acquisitions.”
Insights found in the new Fenwick IPO survey include the following:
Life Sciences IPOs Outnumber Technology IPOs 4-to-1
While life sciences IPOs fell to their lowest half-year rate since 2011, their totals far outpaced technology IPOs. Life sciences companies completed 16 deals in the first half of 2016 compared to four completed by technology companies in the same period. These numbers show a decline from the second half of 2015, where there were 26 life sciences and 13 technology IPOs completed.
There were no large blockbuster deals completed in the first half of the year, with deal sizes generally ranging from $35 to $250 million.
Pricing a Challenge for Life Sciences IPOs
Pricing was a challenge for life sciences IPOs in the first half, as a majority of the deals priced below the red herring range.
After-market performance was more positive, with half of the life sciences deals trading up in the first day of trading, compared to seven trading down, and three of the technology deals trading up.
High Insider Participation Continues in Life Sciences IPOs
As was the case in 2014 and 2015, participation by insiders – existing investors who buy additional shares in the IPO – continues to be an important feature of life sciences IPOs, where most deals had substantial insider participation.
To see the full survey results, please visit fenwick.com/iposurvey.