Five Insights from Transaction Attorneys About the IPO Market

Is your stomach finally settling after the bumpy ride that 2011 provided? Well, don’t get too comfortable: it looks like we’ll see much of the same in 2012, according to the latest from Inside Investor Relations.

According to an in-depth survey of corporate transaction attorneys conducted by KCSA Strategic Communications, the market is ‘cautiously optimistic’ … but that doesn’t exactly translate to ‘comfortable’.

The study is based on interviews with 50 attorneys from the firms that advised 70 per cent of the IPOs on major US exchanges last year, notes Inside Investor Relations. Here are the findings:

1. Status quo: 49 per cent of the attorneys interviewed expect no change from 2011 to 2012. Fortunately, 37 per cent think this year will be a bit stronger.

2. Sponsor-backed dominance: according to 84 per cent of the participants, private equity-backed companies ‘will dominate IPOs’, thanks to the need for exits.

3. China fading: 78 per cent of participants had a ‘positive view of Chinese companies as IPO drivers’. Sound like a lot? Well, it’s down 22 percentage points year over year. Corporate governance and transparency are largely responsible for the decline.

4. Volatility remains: in the interviews, KCSA Strategic Communications found that investors seem to be concerned with volatility. According to Inside Investor Relations:

‘There is a desire to look to more stable companies’ Corbin says. Last year’s tech IPOs, which saw share prices fall after the initial offering, have added to concerns, he says.

5. Mixed feelings on IPO drivers: investors indicate that they want ‘more stable properties’, but they are still showing a lot of interest in social media IPOs. There’s tension between hype and concern, and evenFacebook isn’t immune. While everyone is keeping an eye on the social media giant, they still have questions about the business model.

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Source: Inside Investor Relations

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