Fenwick IPO Survey Indicates Brisk Pace in First Half of 2014; Life Sciences Outnumbered Technology IPOs

​Mountain View, Calif. (August 14, 2014)– The brisk pace of initial public offerings that began in 2013 continued in the first half of 2014, with a higher volume of life sciences than technology companies going public during this period, and each sector highlighting distinct IPO-related trends. These and other findings are noted in Fenwick & West’s latest initial public offerings (IPO) report, released today.

The report, “Key Metrics for Recent Technology and Life Sciences Initial Public Offerings,” analyzed technology and life sciences IPOs that were completed in the first half of 2014 by U.S. as well as international issuers (76 total were completed). It is authored by Fenwick partners Dan Winnike and Jeff Vetter.

“Overall the year started off strong, and while there was a slowdown at the end of the second quarter, companies with solid fundamentals have been able to proceed with their IPO as planned and we are seeing the pipeline continue to fill behind them with quality companies,” said Vetter. “However, there are distinct differences between technology and life sciences IPOs and how they perform.”

Insights found in the Fenwick IPO survey include:

Technology and Life Sciences IPOs Show Distinct Differences

Proceeds. Of the completed technology IPOs, just under 60 percent raised more than $100 million, and just over 20 percent raised over $200 million. Of completed life sciences IPOs, fewer than 20 percent raised over $100 million and under 5 percent raised over $200 million.

Pricing. Of the completed life sciences IPOs, 44 percent priced below the range provided in their red herring while only 15 percent of the technology deals priced below their red herring range.

Lock-Up Expiration. Technology companies showed greater volatility around the expiration of their lock-up periods than did life sciences companies. On average, technology companies completing IPOs in the second half of 2013, thus having their lock-ups expire in the first half of 2014, were more likely to be trading down around the time of, and two weeks following, the expiration of their lock-ups than were life sciences companies.

Insiders and Strategic Partner Disclosure. While it is somewhat common in the life sciences industry for insiders and strategic partners to purchase significant amounts of the shares offered in the IPO, it is unusual in technology company IPOs. In the second quarter of 2014,insiders or strategic partners were disclosed on the prospectus cover as purchasing in (or alongside) five IPOs, representing 25 percent of all technology IPOs in the second quarter of 2014, as opposed to none in the first quarter of 2014.

Momentum for Follow-On Offerings Continues

Follow-on offerings for IPO issuers remained popular during the first half of 2014. Of the 45 companies that completed life sciences or technology IPOs in the second half of 2013, 13 completed follow-on offerings within 180 days of their IPO.

Growing Appetite for Cross-Border IPOs

Of the 2014 technology and life sciences IPOs, 14 were for companies with headquarters outside the U.S., with six of these being for China-based companies, five for European-based companies, two for companies based in Israel and one company based in Canada.

In the first half of 2014, Fenwick advised on high-profile IPOs including GoPro and King Digital, maker of leading game Candy Crush Saga.

“Fenwick advised our company and underwriter clients on 10 completed IPOs since the year began, and have many deals in the pipeline,” said Winnike. “We are optimistic that the second half of the year will remain strong, despite current market turbulence.”

To see the full survey results, graphical representation of the data or for more analysis and information, please visit fenwick.com/iposurvey.

About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies at every stage of their lifecycle. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions for established and emerging companies 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.