The IPO Buzz: Holiday Lights

Just as the holiday windows were drawing crowds on Fifth Avenue in New York, four IPOs wiggled their way onto the IPO calendar last week to light up November’s traffic and get December’s party started. Six companies are set to go public this week.

ReTo Eco-Solutions (RETO), a small-cap deal of 2.8 million shares, was priced at $5 a share on Nov. 28 to raise $14 million. The IPO popped for an opening-day gain of 111.4 percent to close at $10.57 on Nov. 29, a few hours before the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Based in Beijing, ReTo makes eco-friendly construction materials.

(For more information about this company and others in this column, please check the profiles found on’s website.)

November’s Sparkling Finish

This offering brought November’s IPO traffic to 28 deals that raised $5.1 billion, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

November 2017 goes into the books as better than the “average” November running from 2001 through 2017. That 17-year run produced a November monthly average of 18.2 IPOs that raised $4.43 billion.

December’s Low-Key Start

December opened Friday with two “blank check” IPOs and a “best efforts” offering. In a “best efforts” offering, there is no underwriter to buy stock from the issuer. The broker whose name appears on the cover of the prospectus is acting as a selling agent and agrees to make its “best effort” to sell a stated number of shares.

For the record, the two blank checks were Leisure Acquisition (LACA) and Regal Global Energy (RWGE.U) while the “best efforts” offering was BOXLIGHT (BOXL), a technology company that provides interactive educational products and solutions in the United States.

By the way, the “average” December – for the 16-year period running from 2001 through 2016 – produced 15.1 IPOs that raised $3.46 billion.

New Drugs and Payday Loans

This week’s IPO calendar shows six deals aiming to raise about $730.5 million. Of the six IPOs, three are in the health-care industry: Denali Therapeutics (DNLI – proposed), Odonate Therapeutics (ODT – proposed) and Quanterix (QTRX – proposed). Two deals this week are in the financial industry: CURO Group Holdings (CURO) and Luther Burbank (LBC – proposed). Rounding out the group is a “blank check” offering, also known as a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC: GigCapital (GIG.U). Following are thumbnail sketches of each.

Denali Therapeutics, based in San Francisco, is working to discover and develop therapies that will change the lives of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Note: Certain existing shareholders have indicated an interest in buying $50 million or more of the stock in this $150 million IPO.

Odonate Therapeutics, based in San Diego, is developing an oral chemotherapy drug to treat metastatic breast cancer. Note: Certain existing shareholders have indicated an interest in buying $25 million of the stock in this $150 million IPO.

Quanterix, based in Lexington, Massachusetts, is a life sciences company that has developed a next-generation ultra-sensitive digital immunoassay platform that advances precision health for life sciences research and diagnostics. Note: Certain existing shareholders have indicated an interest in buying up to $30 million of the stock in this $50 million IPO.

CURO Group Holdings, based in Wichita, Kansas, is a consumer finance company offering payday loans and other financial products, including unsecured and secured installment loans, to customers without easy access to traditional bank credit in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Luther Burbank, based in Santa Rosa, California, is a bank holding company offering financial services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Luther Burbank Savings, which specializes in providing loans to investors in apartments and other multifamily housing.

GigCapital, based in Palo Alto, California, is a “blank check” company planning to invest in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industries.

Glimpse of Mid-December

For the week of Dec. 11, 2017, the IPO calendar has just one small-cap health-care offering on tap. But when the SEC opens its filing window again on Monday morning, anything can happen.

Stay tuned.

Disclosure: Neither the author nor anyone else on the staff has a position in any stocks mentioned, nor do we trade or invest in IPOs. The author and staff do not issue advice, recommendations or opinion.