The IPO Market Is Roaring (and Not Just for Tech Companies)

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April 3 2014 2:28 PM

The IPO Market Is Roaring (and Not Just for Tech Companies)

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The King Digital Entertainment IPO notwithstanding.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

This story first appeared in Inc.

It was a roaring first quarter for initial public offerings, especially of the nontech variety.

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That may surprise you, particularly if you thought you’d have to ride this party out as technology stocks steal all the thunder and glory yet again.

Through the end of March, 64 companies went public raising nearly $11 billion, according to new research from IPO adviser and research company Renaissance Capital. That’s more than double the number of companies that went public in the first quarter of 2013, and the highest number since the same period in 2000, Renaissance reports.

Those findings jibe with just-reported data from the National Venture Capital Association, which reports 36 venture-backed companies went public, raising $3.3 billion, a 50 percent increase by number of deals and nearly 40 percent increase from the fourth quarter in 2013. It is, similarly, the strongest quarter for venture-backed IPOs since the third quarter of 2000, NVCA reports.

“Building on the momentum of 2013, the venture-backed exit market is continuing to flourish in 2014,” Bobby Franklin, president and chief executive of NVCA said in a statement.

Ten venture-backed companies in the first quarter came from the IT sector, while 24 were life sciences companies including biotech and health concerns, NVCA reports. Most of the companies listed on the NASDAQ, and 31 of the 36 businesses that went public this quarter are trading above their offering prices.

Similarly, Renaissance Capital says health care and biotech dominated the quarter. There were 30 such deals in the quarter, compared with 12 in the prior quarter, and six in the first quarter of 2013. Average total returns were 25 percent, compared with 46 percent in the fourth quarter. Part of the reason for the difference, Renaissance surmises, is that the current quarter contains companies that are more speculative, with nearly three-quarter reporting net losses.

“While we expect tech and health care to remain active, the IPO market will broaden to include large PE-backed names (Biomet, La Quinta), spinoffs (GE’s Synchrony) and Chinese companies (Weibo, JD.com, Alibaba),” Renaissance said in a statement.

Jeremy Quittner is a staff writer for Inc.