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Did the IPO Market Seem White-Hot Over the Last 6 Months? You’re Right, It Was

July 2, 2018, 12:12 PM UTC

If the last time you checked in with the IPO market was 2016, you’re in for a big surprise.

The market that two years ago seemed to be entering a long hibernation came back to life in 2018, and so far, it’s having one of its best years on record. As of this writing, 120 companies have had initial public offerings this year, raising a combined $35.2 billion on U.S. exchanges alone. That dollar amount doesn’t even include Spotify’s closely watched direct-listing IPO, the structure of which means it didn’t raise any money.

The companies that have had IPOs on U.S. markets this year are doing pretty well too. According to The Wall Street Journal, they’re trading on average 22% above their IPO price. The technology companies that have had IPOs are doing even better, up an average of 53%.

And the U.S. IPO market isn’t the only one performing well. Global IPO markets made 5% more in the first half of 2018 than in the first half of 2017, though the volume of companies coming to markets has slowed.

Here are just a couple of highlights from the year so far.


Spotify went public on April 3 in a highly unusual way for a company of its size. Instead of setting a stock price at a rate the market was expected to bear, Spotify simply gave private shareholders an opportunity to offer their existing shares on a public market and allowed the price to be established by the rules of supply and demand. The gamble paid off, giving the company a capitalization of $26.5 billion by the end of the day and making billions for the top five shareholders. There is some speculation that the success of this non-traditional IPO could encourage other companies to go public the same way.


Dropbox’s confidential IPO filing was first reported in January to much fanfare, and the IPO in March did not disappoint. It was called the most anticipated tech IPO since Snap went public last year, and the stock quickly jumped 40% above the initial price.


The Hong Kong IPO of the Beijing-based smartphone manufacturer was expected to be the world’s biggest debut since 2014. It was forecast to raise $10 billion and give the company a value of up to $100 billion. Alas, the listing didn’t live up to the hype. The company raised $4.7 billion for a valuation of $54 billion, falling short of predictions by almost half.


Amid the will they won’t they of a rumored Dell IPO, market watchers waited with bated breath when Dell subsidiary Pivotal went public. The company’s offering went fairly well, raising $555 million on a lackluster day for the NASDAQ. But Pivotal CEO Rob Mee was anxious to distance himself from his parent company, emphasising the company’s independence and autonomy from Michael Dell’s deep pockets.

PagSeguro Digital

The IPO of this Brazilian payments business was the biggest NYSE IPO since Snap, raising $2.3 billion for the company. It was also the largest IPO by a Brazilian company since 2011. The company’s stock dipped more than 11% in mid-June as they announced a follow-on offering of 11.6 million new Class A common shares.