US IPO market: Normality? What normality?
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US IPO market: Normality? What normality?

There are welcome signs of a recovery of the US IPO market. But an underlying trend is the continuing decline in the number of market debuts by small-cap and technology companies. Is the entrepreneurial motor of the US seizing up? Helen Avery reports.

NOVEMBER WAS A record month for the US IPO market, indicating a return to normality. The question is, what is normality? The number of late-stage technology companies or small-cap companies going public has dramatically decreased in the US. They are turning elsewhere for financing, but what will be the price for the US economy?

The good news is that the US IPO market is back. After a slow start in 2010 in terms of deal size, by November 19 about $18.5 billion had been raised, with more deals expected. With the forecast IPOs, ­November looked set to deliver the largest dollar value of new-issue equity capital raised in the US in a single month.

Total number of IPOs

US IPOs since 1995

Source: Dealogic

Frank Maturo, co-head of Americas ECM at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says the mood of the IPO market has changed. "The difference between November and the rest of 2010 is that we are seeing larger and better-known names coming to the market." General Motors, for example, raised $15.8

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