The 5 Most Painful IPO Flops of 2013

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As more than a few finance industry professionals will happily brag, 2013 was a banner year for initial public offerings with 156 new stocks coming to market -- the most since 2007 -- collectively reaping the issuers aggregate proceeds of more than $38 billion.

We went over the most recognizable members of this year's rookie class in "The 5 Most Unfortgettable IPOs of 2013." But in a big pool of 156 companies, there are bound to be at least a few struggling fish. Here, then, is a selection of five from the class of 2013 that are getting seriously lapped by their peers.

1. Prosensa (RNA)

This Dutch clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm had a strong debut when it listed on the Nasdaq in late June. The stock's offer price of $13 zoomed to close at over $19 on the first day of trading. But bad news was waiting around the corner; less than three months later, the shares tanked by more than 70 percent after the company announced that the muscular dystrophy treatment (drisapersen) it was developing in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GLAXF), did not hit its primary endpoint in late-stage trials.

That one-day free fall saw the stock swoon from $24 per share to barely over $7. Since then, shares have slipped even further, and can currently be had for less than $5.

2. Violin Memory (VMEM)

As a provider of high-speed data storage solutions, this company should be well in tune with current IT needs. But it fell flat from the beginning -- on its first day of trading the stock closed slightly over $7 a share, after pricing at $9. Worse was to come when the firm reported its first quarterly results as a publicly traded entity. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%While revenue advanced nearly 40 percent on a year-over-year basis, that couldn't cover the gaping hole of a bottom line loss totaling $34 million (a figure, by the way, significantly higher than the top line number of $28 million). The already-sinking shares continued to dive, bottoming at just over $2.50 per share.

The removal of CEO Donald Basile in mid-December has helped rally the stock, but that might be what financial wags call a "dead-cat bounce." Even after that pop, the share price is well below the IPO price.

3. Cyan (CYNI)

Like Violin Memory, Cyan is a tech firm operating in a sector that has the potential to give it some zip. It's a purveyor of solutions for software-defined networking. This is an emerging field that allows users to control networks through software applications. But it's a business crowded with big-name competitors -- Cisco Systems(CSCO), Hewlett-Packard(HPQ), and VMware (VMEM), for example. Cyan needs time to get on its financial feet; although its revenue grew by 31 percent on a year-over-year basis in its most recent quarter (to $38 million), its net loss deepened by more than $5 million to $8.6 million.

The market has been lukewarm at best to the stock since the IPO, with first-day investors barely moving the needle above the $11 per share issue price. At the moment Cyan is flopping around at a little over $5.

4. KaloBios Pharmaceuticals (KBIO)

It's difficult to do well in the biotech sector. Costs can be enormous, and even for successful drugs, the the payoffs can be years away -- if they materialize at all. At the moment, KaloBios seems to have attracted few believers, despite what could be a promising pipeline of antibodies intended to treat certain types of cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, severe asthma, and blood disorders. What could be worrying the market is the company's latest quarterly results, which showed a mere $9,000 in revenue and a net loss of $11 million. The year-to-date figures actually come close to being mirror images of each other, with a top line of $31 million and a net shortfall of almost $32 million.

Such numbers take a strong stomach to digest, and the market's not biting at the moment. From an issue price of $8 when launched this past January, KaloBios stock has declined by nearly 50 percent to its most recent closing price of $4.25.

5. Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT)

The IPO of this real estate investment trust wasn't, strictly speaking, a flop. But the stock should be doing much better given that its flagship and namesake asset, New York City's Empire State Building, is one of the most famous skyscrapers on the planet.

Unfortunately, the REIT's management has been locked in a legal battle with legacy stockholders who received shares in the building during a transfer of ownership in 1961. Those investors accuse the current brain trust of keeping the structure in their portfolio even after receiving offers to buy it for as much as $2.3 billion (market capitalization reaches is $1.46 billion for the Trust, which has 17 other properties under its wing).

At the moment, the REIT is changing hands for around $15.25 a share following its October market debut at $13. But that pales in comparison to fellow real estate operator Re/Max Holdings(RMAX), which went public on the same day and is currently trading more than $10 above its $22 per share issue price.

Motley Fool contributor Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems and VMware. The Motley Fool owns shares of VMware. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.