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10年IPO回顾:这6家公司的上市最值得关注

Kevin Kelleher 2019年12月31日

过去十年的美国IPO市场依然是一片热闹景象,包括Facebook、通用汽车、阿里巴巴在内诸多家喻户晓的企业纷纷在这里上市。

过去10年,IPO市场发生了许多值得注意的变化。更多的初创企业不再选择公开上市,而是选择卖给大企业。股票市场在他们眼中一如根管之于牙病患者,不过是权宜之计罢了。

尽管如此,过去十年的美国IPO市场依然是一片热闹景象,包括Facebook、通用汽车、阿里巴巴在内诸多家喻户晓的企业纷纷在这里上市。机构研究及IPO交易所交易基金提供商Renaissance Capital的数据显示,过去10年,美国股票交易所共完成1689宗IPO,合计募资达4350亿美元。

与过去几十年相比,公司在2010年代上市的步伐要慢上许多。佛罗里达大学的一位金融学教授杰伊·里特的研究表明,相较于20世纪最后20年的IPO高峰期,最近十年的IPO数量下降了60%以上。

尽管科技公司的IPO数量有所增加,但放眼更大的市场,我们可以看到公司上市前等待的时间越来越长。过去10年,从科技公司成立到IPO平均需要花费11年时间,而20世纪后期平均为7年。“特别是许多小型科创企业,它们已经放弃了上市之路,大多成功的科创企业都转而卖给了像思科、甲骨文、Alphabet这样的大型科技企业。 ”里特说道

通过回顾过去10年间的一些重大IPO,我们也可以洞悉企业募资趋势以及投资者偏好随着时间的推移所发生的变化。

通用汽车

IPO时间:2010年11月。投资回报率:13%

在申请破产一年半后,通用汽车重返股市,以每股33美元的价格募资201亿美元,一举成为史上规模最大的IPO之一。通用汽车重返股市之所以如此引人注目的另一个原因在于,当时其最大的股东是美国财政部,此前联邦政府曾经注资330亿美元救助了这家汽车制造巨头。

史密斯说:“通用汽车上市相当于国有资产私有化,你肯定从没想过会在美国碰到这种情况。”上市第二年通用汽车就恢复了盈利,这也传递出了强烈的信号:金融危机最严重的阶段已经过去了。

Facebook

IPO时间:2012年5月。投资回报率:443%

2011年,领英上市,其股价一天之内翻了一番。在此之后,Facebook本应向其他打算上市的科技初创公司发出上市时机已经成熟的信号。现在人们可能已经淡忘了Facebook是IPO,但Facebook在上市首日和第一年的表现乏善可陈。在首个交易日遭遇交易障碍之后,这次IPO在人们看来是“一团糟”,而有关其移动业务增长的担忧也让投资者倍感压力。

在Facebook扫清对其财务状况的质疑之后,其股票价格便开始一路走高,也为随后几年其他科技巨头的上市铺平了道路。尚未走出经济衰退阴影的投资者需要这样一家能够打破困境的公司,从而吸引更多大名鼎鼎的公司开展IPO。Facebook做到了这一点,只是比华尔街预期的时间略晚了约一年。

阿里巴巴

IPO时间:2014年9月,投资回报率:209%

随着IPO渠道的打通,公开募股的公司日益增多,最终在2014年达到近十年的顶峰。当年,新上市的公司总共募集到853亿美元资金,其中250亿美元流向了中国的新兴电子商务巨头阿里巴巴。

史密斯说:“阿里巴巴的IPO就像中国的亮相派对。不仅仅规模庞大,也反映了对中国及其科技产业的认可。”近10年以来,已经有数十家中国科技企业赴美IPO,而这种情况可能会发生改变。2019年11月,阿里巴巴在香港单独上市,募资110亿美元,此举标志着在贸易争端阴云下,中国企业在靠近家门口的地方可能会募集到更多的资金

Moderna Inc.

IPO时间:2018年12月,投资回报率:负16%

“生物技术公司的IPO很难获得高知名度,也正因此大家对它们都不太关注,但如果从交易数量来看,从2013年到现在,生物技术行业一直都是IPO市场的最大玩家,”里特说。“投资者们投资了数百家公司,但其中大多数公司在上市之际不仅没有利润,甚至连营收都没有。”

对于那些不太了解生物技术行业的投资人而言,投资此类企业尤为冒险,但通过IPO募集资金后,生物技术企业便可以完成药物的前期研发工作并展示出自己的发展潜力,由此引起大型制药企业的兴趣,进而获取投资或寻求被后者收购。在过去10年上市的数百家生物制药及其它制药初创企业中,Moderna是最大的一家,共募资6亿美元。

Spotify

上市时间:2018年4月,投资回报率:14%

Spotify其实并非通过IPO上市,这个案例之所以值得一提是因为其可能会对未来的IPO市场产生重大影响。Spotify没有选择与华尔街银行家们合作,而是绕过了耗费不菲的传统IPO承销流程,采用直接上市的方法发行股票,从历史上看,这种方式并不常见,通常只有一些小公司会采用这种方法。

据史密斯介绍,Spotify在直接上市中登记了价值74亿美元的股票,按这个数字计算,如果Spotify进行IPO,则会成为过去10年的第5大IPO。今年,Slack也追随Spotify的脚步选择直接上市,而爱彼迎据说也计划在2020年直接上市。也曾有公司像谷歌一样通过拍卖股票上市,这种方法也能够减少上市费用。但里特表示,最后一次拍卖还是2013年的事了。而直接上市则可能会在未来变得越发常见。

Uber 

IPO时间:2019年5月,投资回报率:负33%

Uber曾是硅谷最富盛名的独角兽企业之一,现在则身陷争议漩涡。在坚持长时间不上市的独角兽企业中,Uber可算是典型代表。在放弃坚持、走向上市前,Uber已从风投、主权财富基金和私人资本市场获取了数十亿美元的资金。

其它那些原本坚持不上市的独角兽企业,如Lyft、SmileDirectClub和WeWork也在2019年敲响了公开市场的大门。但由于投资者对独角兽企业的亏损采取了更审慎的态度,前两家公司的股票在上市后一路走低,而WeWork甚至未能成功上市,其在提交招股说明书数周后最终撤回了IPO申请。Uber、Lyft和WeWork在IPO市场的待遇表明,即使私募市场眼力不足,但2010年代末的IPO市场还是十分尽责的。

里特表示,“在我看来,WeWork上市失败恰恰是公开市场运转良好的表现,我们需要不时看到这种案例,以便让人们意识到开展尽职调查的必要性。” (财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

In some notable ways, the IPO market isn’t quite what it used to be. Fewer startups are going public these days, often selling out to bigger firms or just regarding a stock market debut the way a dental patient looks forward to a root canal.

Nonetheless, the past 10 years has been busy enough for the U.S. IPO market, with some big names like Facebook, General Motors and Alibaba entering the stock market. All told, 1,689 IPOs debuted on U.S. exchanges, raising an aggregate $435 billion in proceeds, according to Renaissance Capital, a provider of institutional research and IPO ETFs.

The pace of new listings is slower than in previous decades. According to research from Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida, the number of IPOs this decade is more than 60% lower than the new offerings in the last two decades of the 20th century, a relative boom time for IPOs.

And while there has been an increase in tech IPOs, the larger market for new issues can be characterized by companies waiting longer and longer to go public. The median time from founding a tech company to an IPO was 11 years this past decade, up from seven years in the late 20th century. “Small tech firms, in particular, have stopped going public. Instead, most successful tech startups sell out to a bigger tech company such as Cisco Systems, Oracle, Alphabet,” Ritter says.

A look at some of the most important IPOs of the past ten years also shows both how trends in raising corporate capital are evolving, as well as how tastes among investors have also shifted over time.

General Motors

November 2010. Return from IPO: Up 13%

A year and a half after filing for bankruptcy, GM staged one of the largest IPOs in history, raising $20.1 billion at $33 a share. The listing was notable for another reason: GM’s largest shareholder was the U.S. Treasury, after the federal government staged a $33 billion bailout of the auto-making giant.

“It was the privatization of a government-owned asset, something you never thought you’d see in the U.S.,” says Smith. GM returned to profitability the following year, presenting a powerful symbol that the worst of the financial crisis had passed.

Facebook

May 2012. Return from IPO: Up 433%

After LinkedIn went public in 2011 and saw its price double in one day, Facebook was supposed to signal the all-clear for other tech startups to go public. It’s somewhat forgotten today, but Facebook’s debut and first year were actually rocky. The IPO was considered “botched” after a trading snag on its first day, and concerns about its mobile growth weighed on investors.

Once Facebook proved its financial skeptics wrong, its stock took off, paving the way for other tech holdouts to go public in the following years. Investors still uneasy in the wake of the Great Recession were looking for a company to break the ice and create demand for other brand-name IPOs. Facebook did that—it just took a year or so longer than what Wall Street had hoped.

Alibaba

September 2014. Return from IPO: Up 209%

Once the logjam cleared out of the IPO pipeline, more offerings flowed through, culminating in the decade’s busiest year in 2014. Companies raised a collective $85.3 billion that year, with $25 billion of that going to China’s up-and-coming e-commerce giant, Alibaba.

“Alibaba’s IPO was like China’s coming out party,” Smith says. “It wasn’t just the size, it also reflected the acceptance of China and its technology segment.” Dozens of other Chinese tech companies staged IPOs in U.S. this decade. But that may change: Alibaba raised $11 billion in a separate offering in Hong Kong on 2019 November, signaling Chinese companies may raise more money closer to home in the thick of a trade war.

Moderna Inc.

December 2018. Return from IPO: Down 16%

“Because biotech IPOs are almost never household names, they haven’t gotten as much attention, but they have been the largest industry in the IPO market from 2013 until now, in terms of the number of deals,” says Ritter. “Investors have been funding hundreds of companies, most of which not only have no profits, they don't even have any revenue at the time of going public.”

That may make biotech IPOs especially risky for investors inexperienced with them, but by raising money in IPOs, biotechs can carry their drug development to the point when Big Pharma takes an interest and invests in or buys out a promising startup. Among the hundreds of biopharma and other drugmaker startups that went public this decade, Moderna’s was the largest, raising $600 million.

Spotify

April 2018. Return from offering price: Up 14%

Okay, this one wasn’t an IPO, but Spotify’s listing is notable because it may end up having a significant effect on the future IPO market. Spotify bypassed the traditional (and costly) IPO underwriting process of working with Wall Street bankers, and used a direct listing—historically an uncommon option used solely by smaller companies.

Spotify registered $7.4 billion worth of shares in the direct offering, Smith says, which would have made it the fifth largest IPO in the last 10 years had it taken that route. Slack followed this year with its own direct listing, and Airbnb is said to be planning one in 2020. Once, companies like Google used auctions, which can also involve lower listing fees. But the last IPO by auction was in 2013, Ritter says. Instead, it's direct listings that may grow more common in the future.

Uber

May 2019. Return from IPO: Down 33%

Uber went from one of the most celebrated of Silicon Valley unicorns to one of the most controversial. But it’s also emblematic of the unicorns that held out as long as possible from going public, tapping venture capital firms, sovereign wealth funds, and private capital markets for billions before giving in and entering the public stock market.

Other holdouts like Lyft, SmileDirectClub, and WeWork also tested the public markets in 2019. The first two saw their stocks fall as investors took a harder look at unicorn losses, while WeWork didn’t even make it out of the gate, pulling its IPO several weeks after filing a prospectus. If anything, the reception (or lack thereof) for Uber, Lyft and WeWork suggest the IPO market is working as it should at the end of this decade, even if private markets have been less discerning.

“I view the we work meltdown as public markets working,” Ritter says “You need a situation WeWork every once in a while to remind people you do have to do due diligence.”

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