Tech IPO market still dead

With all the stock market frothiness these days and tech stocks like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) leading the charge, one would think it's high time the tech IPO market rebounded. Well, the broader IPO market appears to be bouncing back somewhat. Over the past three months, 23 companies filed S-1 documents with the SEC announcing intent to issue new shares, according to IPO tracker Renaissance.

Promising, but only four of the 23 were tech companies. The majority were finance companies of some sort or another. Four filings in three months means the tech IPO markets are sill seized up. For venture capitalists starved for liquidity events, that's very bad news.

VCs hoped that the markets would open up in the wake of a successful IPO by restaurant reservations and technology site OpenTable (OPEN), which sold 3 million shares at $20 a piece in May and rose an additional $11 on the first day of trading. But OpenTable is starting to look more like a lucky fluke.

Why aren't more tech companies coming out? It varies by sector. In technology hardware, companies aren't buying gear and tend to be defaulting to bigger brand names with less risk attached for necessary purchases. In enterprise software, the big players such as Oracle and IBM are buying up anything promising well before it hits the IPO market.
On the Web, the continued weak performance of online ads has put a damper on any sort of media plays. And the best known tech players of the recent year, FaceBook and Twitter, still do not have viable, scalable monetization models.

On the funding side, many companies in need of late-stage investment to get to the next level of sales and product viability that would lead up to IPO have chosen to wait on the sidelines rather than face painful negative revaluations at the hands of new investors. This means a lot of companies that would have been idling for IPO are still parked at the gate awaiting sufficient fuel to be loaded for them to take flight.

All of these headwinds have meant, not surprisingly, that the size of IPOs in tech has been modest, to say the least. Of the four only one, tech infrastructure provider Fortinet, has the possibility of being a larger capitalization issuance.

So add this all up and the U.S. tech IPO markets look fragile and will likely remain so for the near future.

Alex Salkever is a senior writer for AOL DailyFinance covering tech and cleantech.
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