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For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

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  • Ranked #1 in the Americas for number of technology deals in 2015 by Mergermarket
  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney

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Report: Life Sciences IPOs the Big Kahuna

August 14, 2014

​Fenwick & West securities and corporate finance co-chair Jeff Vetter was interviewed by Fox Business network’s Maria Bartiromo regarding the latest IPO Survey he co-authored with corporate partner Dan Winnike. The survey found that initial public offerings from life sciences companies outnumbered technology IPOs in the first half of 2014.

“For IPOs in technology and life sciences we’re seeing just a significant increase in deals,” said Vetter, noting that more IPOs took place in the first half of 2014 than almost all of 2013 and probably since the dot-com bubble.

When asked why life sciences IPOs were surging, Vetter said, “I think the life sciences market has been much stronger since 2013, so this has been going on for quite some time." 

“I think they’re seeing good valuations in this space, as well," he added.

Bartiromo asked whether some technology companies’ IPO valuations had been priced incorrectly, leading to poor stock performance after their market debuts.

“In the tech space in the first half you’ve seen a number of companies trade up,” Vetter replied. “In fact, almost every tech IPO in the first half traded up. You’ve seen a few since that [period] trade down a little bit. And in the life sciences, you did see maybe about a third of them actually trading down. That could lead you to think that perhaps the deals were overpriced at the time….But in the tech space, it’s been mostly trading up.”

Bartiromo also queried Vetter on the volatility seen in post-IPO tech stocks after the lockups expire on sales of stock by pre-IPO shareholders.

“Normally that’s when you see a big overhang of shares that come off, 180 days after their IPO,” Vetter answered. “Just a simple supply-and-demand issue. You do see downward pressure around the time of the lockup, and we certainly saw that in the first half.”

As for future opportunities, Vetter said he expected to see a number of additional IPOs after Labor Day, when market conditions typically improve from a summertime slowdown. 

“We have a lot of companies that are through the SEC process and sort of waiting to launch their deal, so we are actually hopeful that the fall, particularly post-Labor Day or maybe even a little later, will be a pretty big IPO time," he said, adding that a larger than usual portion would likely be cross-border IPOs. 

“Almost 20 percent of the IPOs in the first half [of 2014] were from outside the U.S.,” Vetter observed, “and I think we’ll probably see that trend continue, as well.”

The complete four-minute interview video is available through the Fox Business website.