Half of the companies that raised over $1bn at initial public offerings this year are trading below their listing price, despite robust stock markets around the world.
Their weak performance has raised questions about the valuations pinned to companies by large investors such as SoftBank and Warburg Pincus and leading underwriters including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Dealogic data show 49 per cent of the 43 IPOs that raised $1bn or more this year in London, Hong Kong, India and New York are trading below their issuance prices.
By comparison, among large IPOs that listed in 2019, about 33 per cent were below issuance price a year after hitting the market, while 27 per cent of those priced in 2020 were in the red after 12 months of trading.
The bleak share price performance comes despite a blistering year for global equity markets, with the S&P 500 index notching a 24 per cent return and a record run for IPOs, which have raised $330bn so far this year, according to EY.
Paytm fell more than 40 per cent in its first two days of trading and suffered the biggest first-day fall of any large listing this year, making it one of the worst debuts in Indian stock market history. The fintech group, which raised $2.5bn and was valued at $20bn, now has a market capitalisation of $15bn.
Deliveroo shares plunged 26 per cent on day one and are still below their listing price, while the New York-listed shares of Chinese ride hailing app Didi Chuxing are down more than 40 per cent.
The effects of Beijing’s crackdown on tech, launched after Didi listed in New York despite regulators’ warnings, have been felt across global equity markets, with all four of this year’s $1bn-plus listings in Hong Kong falling into the red.
“There’s a lot of exuberance in the market right now” said Raghu Narain, head of Asia-Pacific investment banking at Natixis. He said that while bankers typically advised companies to avoid setting too high a price target in order to avoid an embarrassing day one fall, “a lot of times the issuers want to go out with a big splash”.
Bankers on the Paytm deal said the company was determined to set a new record for an Indian IPO, which deterred more conservative long-only investors. This meant some hedge funds received a bigger than expected allocation and then dumped the stock.
Goldman has led on 13 deals that raised more than $1bn this year but nine of those are now in the red, including Didi and American retail trading platform Robinhood. Six of the 14 deals led by rival bank Morgan Stanley were trading below their IPO price, including Paytm.
Private investors are also increasingly eager to sell out amid pressure for greater returns, according to analysts. James Thom, a senior investment director at Abrdn, said pressure from large backers was a “big part” of the high valuations carried by big deals this year.
Investors have poured more than $2tn into private equity funds in the past decade, hunting for higher returns than in public markets. However, since 2009, US public equity returns have actually matched returns from US buyouts at around 15 per cent, according to consultancy Bain.
This parity has resulted in pressure on private equity funds to recycle their capital faster to move on to the next deal.
Richard Cormack, co-head of Emea equity capital markets at Goldman, said the broader universe of IPOs were performing well, even if there were “clearly outliers on the downside”. He added: “I don’t agree with the accusation that there has been mass mispricing.”
James Fleming, Citigroup’s global co-head of equity capital markets, said: “There have clearly been a number of high profile underperforming IPOs this year. As policymakers become more hawkish and a pick-up in rates becomes more visible, we have seen a risk reduction in high growth companies and a rotation in preference from growth to value. That has caused a lot of stocks, not just IPOs, to derate.”
But he noted that had not stemmed the flood of new equity being issued. “Worldwide we had never seen more than $1tn of equity issued in a year. Then last year we had $1.1tn of equity issued during Covid. I thought we would never see those numbers again, and here we are approaching $1.5tn at Thanksgiving — these are extraordinary numbers.”
Additional reporting by Chris Campbell in London