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Fenwick Releases IPO Report Covering Key 2016 Trends

IPO Market Begins to Show Signs of Life in Second Half 2016

Mountain View, CA (February 17, 2017) – While initial public offering (IPO) activity for technology and life sciences companies declined overall in 2016, the IPO market improved somewhat in the second half, potentially pointing to a more active 2017. These and other findings are noted in Fenwick & West’s latest IPO report released today.

The report, Key Metrics for Recent Technology and Life Sciences Initial Public Offerings, analyzed 51 technology and life sciences IPOs completed in 2016. It is authored by Fenwick partners Jeffrey Vetter and Daniel Winnike.

“Following a slow start in the first half of 2016, life sciences and technology IPOs started to improve post Labor Day, which could signal a more promising year for IPO activity,” Winnike said.

“Significant differences continue between life sciences and technology IPOs. While life sciences IPOs outnumbered technology IPOs for the fourth consecutive year, their deal sizes were generally smaller and a greater number of life sciences IPOs closed flat to down on their first day of trading,” Vetter said.

Insights found in the Fenwick IPO survey include:

IPO Activity Decreases for Second Straight Year
A total of 51 technology and life sciences IPOs were completed in 2016, compared with 94 in 2015 and 140 in the banner year of 2014, continuing a downward trend of IPO activity for the second straight year. While 2016 was not at the same level as the past three years, it did top 2012 (49 IPOs).

Gap between Technology and Life Sciences IPOs Close in Second Half 2016
The gap between technology and life sciences IPOs closed during the second half of 2016, with 17 life sciences IPOs and 14 in the technology sector, representing a year-over-year decrease in life sciences activity in the second half and a slight uptick in activity in the technology sector. For comparison, in the second half of 2015, there were 26 life sciences IPOs and 13 technology IPOs.

The number of domestic life sciences IPOs in the second half of 2016 (12) was at the lowest level of any half-year period since the second half of 2012, and the total number of technology IPOs (4) in the first half of 2016 was the lowest in any half-year period since 2012.

Most IPO Deals Raise Under $100 Million
Transaction sizes for technology IPOs in 2016 were lower than in other recent periods, with over half of the deals under $100 million. The life sciences saw a similar dynamic, with 30% of the IPOs under $25 million and 75% under $100 million. The largest technology offering was Line Corporation, which raised $1.1 billion, and the largest life sciences offering was Pantheon for $625 million.

More Positive Pricing Seen in Second Half 2016
Deals in both sectors faced more positive pricing environments in the second half of 2016, at least in relation to the pricing objectives expressed in their road show prospectuses. Of the technology deals, 50% priced above their red herring range, and of the life sciences deals, which in recent periods have faced greater pricing pressures, 60% priced in or above the range.

On the flip side, half of the life sciences IPOs closed flat to down on the first day of trading. In contrast, technology IPOs generally performed well, with over 90% of technology IPOs trading up on the first day of trading.

Second Half IPOs Part of Backlog
In both the technology and life sciences sectors, the time between the initial confidential submission and the first day of trading was significantly longer than historically observed, suggesting that many second half 2016 IPO deals were “backlog” from prior periods.

Insider Purchasing in IPOs Decline
The percentage of deals with insiders buying in the IPO remained relatively consistent in the second half of 2016, with the level of insider purchasing declining somewhat.

To see the full survey results, please visit fenwick.com/iposurvey.

About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West LLP provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies – at every stage of their lifecycle – and the investors that partner with them. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions on issues ranging from venture capital, public offerings, joint ventures, M&A and strategic relationships, to intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, taxation, antitrust, and employment and labor law. For more than four decades, Fenwick has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders. For more information, please visit fenwick.com​.