A horse kept in the stable too long can turn a measured trot into a mad sprint. Not one IPO has gotten done yet, but 10 companies are already in the queue, with about $800 million worth of paper. The good news is that, despite some concerns on the Street about the pace of filings, most Wall Streeters believe that the continuing demand for biotech follow-on paper and debt means there's enough gas in the tank for an IPO window.
"It's been a robust financing environment for debt and follow-ons, and that's likely to translate into IPOs," said G. Steven Burrill, CEO of merchant bank Burrill & Co.
William Kent, director at TF/Carson, and Marc Goldberg, managing director of BioVentures Investors, also see the demand for follow-ons as an indicator of appetite for new issues. Kent noted that most of the recent deals were several times oversubscribed, and scuttlebutt has investors putting in massive initial orders for follow-ons because they know they won't get the entire allocation.
Structurally, Goldberg feels the next cycle is coming right on cue. "In the 20 years I've been in this business, every four to five years there's been an IPO cycle, and we seem to be right on time," he said. BioVentures recently closed a $54 million private equity fund.
"The question upon the start of every cycle is: will people go into it in a measured manner so the window stays open longer, or will they rush in and it closes way too quickly?'" said Goldberg. "The bankers are their own worst enemy."
That said, he optimistically suggested that "we're looking at a window with breadth and depth because companies aren't rushing in pell mell."
Kent also noted that the bankers are hungry, which can lead to overstuffing the
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