Wednesday, April 03, 2024

With 40 first quarter deals, 2024 IPOs are slightly off 2023 pace

By John Filar Atwood

The first three months of 2024 saw 40 companies make their public market debuts. The pace is a little slower than 2023 when 45 companies went public in the first quarter. It is also a slower start than in 2022 when 79 IPOs were completed in January through March, but is better than Q1 2020 (39 deals) and 2019 (34 deals). March ended with four new issues in its final week, including one by Australia’s Alta Global Group. ThinkEquity led the provider of martial arts and combat sports training programs to market. It was ThinkEquity’s third completed lead manager assignment of the year, already exceeding its 2023 total of two offerings. China’s U-BX Technology is publicly traded after spending 26 months in registration. Conversely, California-headquartered Boundless Bio priced in under a month. The current average number of days in public registration for 2024’s new issuers is 188 days. Florida-based blank check IB Acquisition completed the week’s other deal. It was the fifth IPO of 2024 for SIC 6770, the most of any industry group.

New registrants. The week’s activity included five new registrations. Marex Group, a global financial services platform based in London publicly registered. Marex, which acquired Cowen’s legacy prime services and outsourced trading business from Toronto-Dominion Bank in December 2023, provides connectivity to 58 commodities exchanges. Univest Securities was hired as first lead manager by preliminary filers Huge Amount Group and Reitar Logtech Holdings. Huge Amount is a mobile advertising service provider in China, while Reitar Logtech offers engineering design, management, and consultancy services to the logistics industry in Hong Kong. China also is home to new filers NETCLASS TECHNOLOGY and Xinxu Copper Industry Technology. NETCLASS filed a new Form F-1 on the same day that it withdrew a prior registration statement. Xinxu Copper is seeking to become the first SIC 3350 (Rolling Drawing & Extruding of Nonferrous Metals) new issuer since 2013. March tallied 24 new public registrations overall, which matches March 2023 and is 11 more than in February. The three-month total number of new filings was 57, down from 68 by the end of March last year.

Withdrawals. Six companies withdrew their pending registrations last week, including NETCLASS TECHNOLOGY which filed a new registration on the same day. The provider of education software and services in China reduced its expected IPO size from $16.8 million to $9 million. Blank check Biotech Group Acquisition, which initially registered in April 2022, opted not to proceed with its offering. The company last amended its registration in June 2023. Alternative asset manager The Gladstone Companies and nasal hydrogel developer Polyrizon backed out of their IPO plans. Both companies initially registered in 2022 and filed four amendments, but none since March 2023. California-based Opti-Harvest and Invea Therapeutics, which is indirectly controlled by BioXcel, also withdrew. The 2023 registrants each filed Amendment No. 2 in January 2024. The pace of withdrawals picked up considerably in March with ten after only two in February. Five companies filed Forms RW last March. As of the quarter’s close, 19 companies have withdrawn this year compared to 25 in 2023’s first quarter.

The information reported here is gathered using IPO Vital Signs, a Wolters Kluwer Regulatory U.S. database that includes all SEC registered IPOs, including REITs and those non-U.S. IPO filers seeking to list in the U.S. markets. IPO Vital Signs does not track closed-end funds, best efforts or non-underwritten deals, or IPO offerings for amounts less than $5 million.