Five companies withdrew plans to go public, but it was more a matter of housekeeping than of running up the white flag of surrender.
Here are the stories behind the IPO withdrawals:
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: AEGR proposed) (Industry Sector, new & competitors), a Bridgewater, New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company, had filed for an IPO to raise $86.3 million on Nov. 20, 2007. Yes, this proposed deal was filed over a year ago.
On Dec. 12, the Biotechnology & Drug Industry Index was down 28 percent for the year.
Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group (Nasdaq: FINE proposed) (Industry Sector, news & competitors), a Wichita, Kansas-based operator of a chain of upscale steakhouses, had filed for an IPO to raise $100 million on Oct. 23, 2007. Once again, this planned deal was filed over a year ago.
The Restaurant Industry Index was down 25.5 percent for the year.
Epocrates (Nasdaq: EPOC proposed) (Industry Sector, news & competitors), a San Mateo, California-based provider of clinical information and decision support tools for health-care professionals, had filed for an IPO to raise $75 million on April 17, 2008. That was eight months ago.
The Healthcare Industry Index was down 32.5 percent for the year.
And two “blank check” companies, also known as special-purpose acquisition companies or SPACS, have pulled plans. They were Capstar Acquisition, filed on Nov. 11, 2007, and MAFS Acquisition, filed on Dec. 6, 2007. Yessiree, both were filed over a year ago.
A safe bet: You can expect to see more housekeeping withdrawals from the IPO pipeline in the near future.
The only calendar game in town these days has been secondary offerings. Bankers priced five deals last week.
Each had one thing in common.
The deals were priced in what Wall Street professionals call “in the whole” – below their previous closes. This is not uncommon in a sloppy stock market. If bankers want to get the deals out the door, they are forced to price them at a discount from their previous price. It worked in four of last week’s five deals.
American Public Education (Nasdaq: APEI) (Chart, news & competitors), a Charles Town, West Virginia-based provider of online postsecondary education services, priced its 3.8- million-share secondary offering on Tuesday evening at $37.50 per share, DOWN from its close of $38.01. It opened at $38.42 on Wednesday morning.
Hatteras Financial (NYSE: HTS) (Chart, news & competitors), a Winston Salem, North Carolina-based real estate investment trust, or REIT, priced its 8.2-million-share secondary offering on Tuesday evening at $22 per share, DOWN from its close of $22.92. It opened at $23.60 on Wednesday morning.
IBERIABANK (Nasdaq: IBKC), (Chart, news & competitors) a Lafayette, Louisiana-based bank holding company, priced its 2.5-million-share secondary offering on Wednesday evening at $40 per share, DOWN from its close of $43. It opened at $42.53 on Thursday morning.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE: MTU) (Chart, news & competitors) a Tokyo-based bank holding company, priced its 174-million-share secondary offering on Monday morning at $4.49 per share, DOWN from its Friday close of $4.65. It opened at $5.05 on Monday morning.
But not everything worked.
Unitil (NYSE: UTL) (Chart, news & competitors), a Hampton, New Hampshire-based public utility holding company, priced its 2-million-share secondary offering on Wednesday evening at $20 per share, DOWN from its close of $20.35. It opened at $19.87 on Thursday morning.
About the only thing one can say about Wall Street is: Just about the time you think you’ve found a new winning game, something happens to take it away from you.
That’s Wall Street for ya!