Chart of the day: When U.S. companies IPO abroad

By Felix Salmon
May 27, 2011
Guan came to the rescue and provided me with exactly what I was looking for -- and with Thomson Reuters data, no less!

" data-share-img="" data-share="twitter,facebook,linkedin,reddit,google" data-share-count="true">

As I secretly hoped that he might, Guan came to the rescue and provided me with exactly what I was looking for — and with Thomson Reuters data, no less! (It comes from SDC Platinum, I should probably befriend someone there.) I wanted a chart of the ratio of foreign IPOs to domestic ones, for U.S. companies, on a rolling five-year basis, to see whether the current level around 10% constitutes a big spike upwards. And the answer is that yes, it does:

foreipo.png

Guan cautions that the data from before 1980 or so might not be particularly reliable, since it’s hard to know when a U.S. company lists abroad unless you’re a truly global company. But that doesn’t really matter: the proportion of IPOs of U.S. companies which took place abroad only cracked 2% for the first time in 1999. It stayed between 1% and 2.5% all the way from 1998 through 2004, and then it suddenly started spiking: 7.1% in 2005, 8.4% in 2006, 9.3% in 2007, and a whopping 15.7% in 2008, when 6 companies had IPOs abroad and only 38 managed the feat domestically.

On an absolute rather than percentage level, the record year was 2007, when there were 24 foreign IPOs; there’s a three-way tie for second place, with 17 foreign IPOs in each of 1999, 2005, and 2006.

In any case, the thick blue line is what I was looking for, and it’s going up and to the right about as fast as any five-year moving average is ever likely to.

My next project, which maybe I can find someone at SDC Platinum to help me with, is to have a look at all those U.S. companies which had an IPO abroad — there are 157 of them, altogether — and work out how many of them ended up getting a fully-fledged US listing. Could a listing on, say, London’s AIM end up being a reasonably common bunny slope for U.S. companies which want a cheaper and gentler introduction to the world of being public than a major listing on the New York Stock Exchange?

More From Felix Salmon
Post Felix
The Piketty pessimist
The most expensive lottery ticket in the world
The problems of HFT, Joe Stiglitz edition
Private equity math, Nuveen edition
Five explanations for Greece’s bond yield
Comments
One comment so far

FYI, the image doesn’t show up in firefox, only the .png file name.

Posted by Anchard | Report as abusive
Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/