New issuance saw proceeds slump by 25% in Q4 from the previous quarter, even as five more deals came to market. A wave of smaller offerings arrived on U.S. shores as a shaky macro environment combined with uncertainty surrounding the election made capital raising difficult. Despite headwinds regarding the fiscal cliff, the recent quarter enjoyed a stronger finish to the year as the primary markets saw 70 more offerings and $23.9B more in proceeds at year-end than in the last three months of 2011.
New issuance markets boomed in Q3, topping Q2 on deal count and proceeds and also widely beating an anemic year-ago period. 187 total deals priced in Q3, compared with 155 last quarter and 87 in Q3 2011, when the debt ceiling debate froze new issuance markets. In contrast to last year, government action spurred markets higher last quarter with the anticipation and announcement of QE 3. Follow-on offerings were especially robust as issuers rushed to raise capital as long-term uncertainty remained over the “fiscal cliff” and European debt crisis.
The second quarter’s 155 deals were a weak comparison to the year-ago period’s 204 offerings and were down from Q1’s 198 deals, as the European debt crisis’ third life reared its head and the IPO market halted for more than a month after Facebook’s debut left a choppy wake. The only deal type to see a quarter-over-quarter increase was Converts, which nearly doubled total proceeds to $6.5B from $3.7B in Q1 on 20 deals, up from last quarter’s 12 deals.
New issuance got off to a sluggish start in 2012, as year-over-year deal and proceed totals for January fell despite supportive broader equity markets. Primary markets gained strength as the quarter progressed, however, with Q1 deal volume peaking in March. Despite the late uptick in new issuance, a trend of smaller offerings persisted throughout the quarter, which ultimately saw a $15.7B decline in proceeds on 26 fewer deals when compared to a very solid year-ago quarter.
U.S. primary markets lurched their way through Q4 in fits and starts. Following a weak finish to Q3, issuance rebounded in October alongside rallying equity markets. Volumes peaked in early November before renewed eurozone concerns brought volatility back to the fore. Weak volume prevailed for the back half of November, but a brief rally allowed 19 deals and a handful of marquee names to price in week two of December. All told, Q4 2011 lagged the prior year period by 141 deals and $64B in proceeds.
New issuance volume in Q3 plummeted by more than 50% sequentially and 38% year-over-year, as broad global economic fears sent the secondary markets into a violent flux. The volatile quarter contrasted with last year’s strong September performance, which helped bring 141 deals to market. Though July 2011’s 15 IPOs marked a 4-year high among comparable July’s, the souring market forced the IPO window shut in August. Block deal volume also sank notably from an average of 28 over the past three quarters to a paltry five in Q3.
Throughout 2010, strong performance in the secondary markets reopened the window for equity new issuance as positive after-market performance and increased risk tolerance allowed for smaller, less proven companies to tap fresh capital. Yet, the most recent quarter reminded us that while investors are still hungry for mega-deals, the U.S. primary markets are not immune to volatility abroad and macro-driven sentiments.
After the summer doldrums brought third-quarter deal activity to a calm, the new issuance market hit fresh 2010 quarterly highs for proceeds raised and deal count across all issue types. U.S.-based IPO count jumped up by 60% from the prior quarter and 48% from the year-ago period, while secondary offerings nearly trippled from Q3 ’10.
The summer doldrums were in full force during the majority of Q3 as equity new issuance deal volume fell from a recent high of 243 deals in Q2 ’09 to 119 deals, below the 170 that came to market in Q2 and the 210 that priced in the year-ago quarter. All issue types felt the pinch of the quiet market, with the secondary offerings slipping most noticeably to just 82 in Q3 ’10, the lowest quarterly volume since Q1 ‘09.
Due to last year’s relatively large proceeds inflated by TARP repayments, year-over-year comparisons caused Q2 2010’s proceeds to appear worse for wear, sinking to $43B from $106B in the year-ago period. Deal volume also slipped from a year earlier, although by a lesser degree, as a total of 194 deals priced, down from 255 deals. However, these figures are not as bleak as they appear, landing roughly in-line with the prior quarter’s 194 deals that raised $40B and exhibiting clear evidence of a sustained turnaround in the IPO market.