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Nasdaq tries to put a positive spin on lousy quarter for IPOs

By any objective measure, Q1 2015 was lousy for IPOs.

Only 31 companies went public on U.S. exchanges between January and March (no, GoDaddy missed the cut), raising a paltry $5.15 billion. That’s the smallest quarterly raise for U.S. IPOs since Q3 2012, and the lowest first quarter tally since Q1 2010.

But not everyone is hanging their heads.

Earlier today I got a call from someone over at NASDAQ, asking if I’d seen their press release about how strong a quarter it was for IPOs. I hadn’t (and was intrigued), so she sent it over. Here were the highlights:

  • 43 new listings in second quarter, including 27 IPOs
  • 68 percent of all U.S. IPOs, with listings from across healthcare, financials and technology
  • 80 percent of all venture capital-backed IPOs
  • 88 percent of international IPOs listed on the U.S. markets

All of which sounds good for NASDAQ, despite the broader market’s troubles. That said, NASDAQ neglects to point out that its “strong number of new listings this quarter” is actually smaller than its number of new listings in Q1 2014.

According to NASDAQ’s own website, there were 46 companies that priced IPOs on the exchange during the year-earlier period. Not only does that represent a 41% decline in the number of Q1-to-Q1 IPOs, but it’s actually a slightly larger decline than what the rival New York Stock Exchange experienced (40% drop, from 25 to 15).

On the upside, there are a number of new IPOs in the pipeline. So many, in fact, that perhaps Nasdaq won’t need to spin quite so furiously come July.

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