04.23.2012
By Markets Media

Eyes Set On Deal Flow

Initial public offerings are off to a start in 2012, esepecially in the technology sector. Gaming companies like Zynga and internet dealmaker Group On were all beloved darlings of the Street as initial demand for gains sailed. But a change of wind is coming that is forcing other companies to reconsider if an IPO is the best strategy for raising equity.

For instance, Group On is down 42.7% year-to-date and because of Zynga’s reliance on Facebook-based revenue, shareholders have bailed on the games maker with shares down 4.1% YTD. After many failed IPOs in the past year with the occasional big one like InfoBlox, up 12%, banks who taking on the task of bookrunning the equity offerings are beginning to realize that this isn’t just a repeat of the 1999-2001 technology bubble.

The downturn in deal flow has forced banks to consolidate or sell off parts of their business that in the past, would have flourished amid a vibrant deal environment. In a post 2008 world, compliance and conservatism seem to take center stage over risky-but –lucrative investments. Despite the Federal Reserve’s so-called “bottomless pit” of money for banks to borrow from, these institutions aren’t looking to increase their deal teams anytime soon. More consolidation is an outcome that is all but confirmed.

But the fate of the market for IPOs remains in this summers’ hands. All await the May 17th Facebook pricing, which will boost volumes on all the exchanges for days onward. Carlyle Group is also expecting to IPO in May 5th, allowing shareholders big and small to get exposure to private equity.

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