The IPO Buzz: The Story Behind the Numbers

Wall Street bankers raised $3.13 billion in the IPO market last week. This week the numbers melt down to $727.7 million, but there is a reason. Last week’s high-profile deal clocked in with a disappointing $2.75 billion.

AXA Equitable Holdings (EQH) had originally filed to price 137.25 million shares at $24 to $27 each to raise $3.5 billion, but the sailing was not smooth. Investors pushed back and the price talk sank to $20. The word coming from brokers was that they weren’t too worried about the IPO price. What they were concerned about is where the stock would trade in the future.

The $20-per-share price was set Wednesday evening, May 9 – and the opening didn’t work out too well. AXA Equitable’s IPO started trading on Thursday morning, May 10, at $19.75, down 25 cents, then recovered to close its opening day at $20.34 on the New York Stock Exchange. Buying interest developed on Friday, May 11. AXA Equitable closed the week at $21.39 – UP 6.95 percent from its IPO price.

But the story is not over.

Mark down June 3, 2018.

That’s the day when AXA Equitable’s 25-day quiet period ends – and its two dozen investment bankers will be able to release their research reports.

The IPO Week Ahead

Now back to the present and this week’s calendar. It lists three IPOs expecting to raise a modest $727.7 million. One company provides online training in programming and software development. The other two deals are “blank check” or special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) offerings. All three plan to start trading on the NASDAQ.

Let’s take a look at this week’s IPO traffic, organized by pricing and trading dates.

Monday evening for Tuesday’s trading:

Trinity Merger (TMCXU proposed), based in Honolulu, is a “blank check” company formed to focus on acquiring a business combination target with a real estate component (such as a real estate investment or management company, or a business within the hospitality and lodging industry).

VectoIQ Acquisition (VTIQU proposed), based in Mamaroneck, New York, is a “blank check” company formed to focus on businesses in the industrial technology, transportation and smart mobility industries.

Wednesday evening for Thursday’s trading:

Pluralsight (PS proposed), based in Farmington, Utah, offers a cloud-based technology learning platform used by over 60 percent of the 2017 Fortune 500 companies, the prospectus says. Pluralsight’s platform lets the users: (1)evaluate the technical abilities of individual employees such as coders, for example, and teams; (2)align learning to key business objectives and (3)close skill gaps in critical areas like cloud, design, security, mobile and data, enabling organizations to deliver key innovations on time and on budget.

(For more information about the above company and others on the IPO calendar, please check the profiles found on’s website.)

May’s Third Week

For the week of May 21, 2018, the IPO calendar has just one IPO. But anything can happen when the SEC’s filing window opens again for business on Monday morning.

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 opinions.