The local IPO market remained strong in the typically slow third quarter, according to data released last week by Ernst & Young.
Three L.A.-area companies went public during the time frame: RBB Bancorp of downtown, which raised $86 million; Sienna Biopharmaceuticals Inc. of Westlake Village, which pulled in $75 million; and YogaWorks Inc. of Culver City, which folded up $40 million.
The deals are part of a huge year globally for IPOs, with 2017 numbers projected to hit close to $200 billion raised, according to Ernst & Young.
“Globally, the market is trending up and on course to have its best year since 2007,” said Scott Porter, a partner at Ernst & Young.
The Western U.S. has done its share to help the IPO market put up strong numbers. Buoyed by Snap Inc.’s $3.9 billion initial offering in March, the region has already outpaced by some 45 percent 2016’s total-year dollars raised with a full quarter to go. It’s also projected to outpace last year in deal volume by the end of 2017, although the 25 year-to-date IPOs in the west trail 2016’s 30 initial offerings.
The strong IPO numbers this year belie some trepidation among companies looking to go public, according to Porter.
“The geopolitical climate is holding some companies back,” he said. “Also, the cost of compliance for public companies as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley and increased regulatory scrutiny remains a consideration.”
There’s also the allure of nonpublic capital markets, which can offer money without the headache of going through a full-blown IPO. Private equity firms also are sitting on a record amount of money, which has to be deployed somewhere.
“There’s a lot of capital out there,” Porter said. “And a lot of companies are choosing to access private money.”
A look at some L.A. companies who recently went public offers clues on why it can be a tough proposition. Pre-IPO market darling Snap’s stock closed at $14.45 on Sept. 28, down almost 40 percent since it opened at $24 on March 2.
YogaWorks, which priced its public offering Aug. 11 at $5.50 a share, experienced an even steeper decline, losing nearly half its value over the course of seven weeks. The company’s stock price was $2.83 at market close Sept. 28.
Real Dollars in VR
There’s been plenty of discussion recently about whether virtual reality or augmented reality is the smarter investment play, with many coming down on the side of the latter technology.
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