Some Companies Went Public In London Last Year

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Now that 2014 has opened with a thud, let's reminisce about how great things were in 2013 for investment bankers in London.

During 2013, 105 new companies joined the London Stock Exchange, raising£15.7 billion of capital in total, of which 36 were technology firms, raising £1 billion–the highest number and value since 2007–the LSE said in a statement.

Chief Executive Xavier Rolet said: “2013 has been an exciting and positive year for the IPO market. We have seen a very healthy mix of U.K. and international companies using the London market as a platform for future growth”.

This year, however, let's say we move the party to Shanghai and Shenzhen.

After a freeze of more than a year, China has reopened the market for initial public offerings, allowing five companies to pitch IPOs to investors as soon as Thursday.

The IPOs by the five, which together are looking to raise 2.1 billion yuan (US$346 million) come at a time when the Chinese stock market is struggling, with the Shanghai benchmark ranking as Asia's worst performer in 2013….

China has frequently resorted to freezing IPOs as a way of controlling the volatility of the country's stock markets—favorite investment outlets for retail investors, who are stuck with few options beyond shares, real estate and wealth-management products. It last choked off supply to the market between 2008 and 2009, in the wake of several big IPOs in which shares surged on listing but declined for years after.

London Celebrates Best Year for IPOs Since Pre-Crisis '07 [WSJ MoneyBeat blog]
China's IPO Market Reopens [WSJ]

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BATS apparently reeeaally wanted those first few trades to be practice trades. This is amazing: Bats Global Markets Inc., the six- year-old equity exchange, canceled its initial public offering, stunning Wall Street after errors on its own computer systems derailed trading in the stock and forced a halt in Apple Inc. (AAPL) “We believe withdrawing the IPO is the appropriate action to take for our company and our shareholders,” Joe Ratterman, the chief executive officer, said in a statement. Asked if that meant Bats is no longer going public, Randy Williams, a company spokesman, replied by e-mail, “Yes, that’s correct.” It's nice to see Bloomberg as incredulous as I am - that paragraph means: the CEO said "we are withdrawing our IPO" and Bloomberg emailed to ask "wait, no, REALLY?" And got the response, "yes, really." Because what's weird here is not a withdrawn IPO but a withdrawn IPO that had already priced. And opened for trading - for a few seconds anyway - to print a few trades at $15.25 (down from last night's IPO price of $16) at around 10:45 this morning before halting, unwinding those trades and ultimately unwinding the IPO.