The IPO gods doled out more misery than joy in 2008 to both two major U.S. stock exchanges, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq, with only 29 new companies to fight over in their ongoing battle for listings. That compared with 202 listings in 2007.
NYSE won 13 of those IPOs, including the largest IPO ever, the $17.9 billion issue by credit-card issuer Visa in March, and a $1.4 billion IPO by American Water Works. That fueled its share of IPO proceeds for the year to $24.7 billion, or 94 percent of the total for the year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Nasdaq’s largest deal, the $500 million IPO by solar equipment company GT Solar, tanked on arrival, finishing the year 83 percent down off its offer price.
Still, Nasdaq won the only IPO in the fourth quarter of 2008, by online university operator Grand Canyon Education Inc, which was also the best performing IPO of the year, ending the year 57 percent over its offer price of $12. CardioNet, another Nasdaq IPO, was up 37 percent.
Absent bountiful IPOs, the battle was on to woo companies away from each other in 2008, with each exchange luring 8 companies from the other. NYSE managed to attract big names such as Speedo maker Warnaco Group and job-search web site operator Monster Worldwide.