Proceeds of initial public offerings listed in the United States were relatively light in the first quarter, but they are likely to get absolutely heavier in the second quarter -- especially should Facebook Inc. conduct its anticipated $5 billion IPO in May.
To put the Facebook factor in perspective, it is worth noting proceeds from all U.S.-listed IPOs were $6.5 billion last quarter, when the take fell 58.4 percent from year to year, according to Reuters.
Despite the expected improvement in the U.S.-listed IPO market this quarter, there is a discrepancy between companies based in the U.S. and companies headquartered in China. Comparatively, the former are hot, and the latter are not.
An estimated $2.2 billion worth of U.S.-listed IPOs are planned for next week, the busiest for the market this year, Reuters reported.
Most important of the debuts may be that of the private-equity company Oaktree Capital Management LP, based in Los Angeles. Its behavior might be considered a gauge for the anticipated IPO by the private-equity firm Carlyle Group, headquartered in Washington, which is also expected this quarter.
"Oaktree is going to be a litmus test for other such offerings, most notably Carlyle," David Menlow, president of research firm IPO Financial, told Reuters. "If market sentiment is not up to snuff and the deal falters, it will have been the sacrificial lamb and will cause other offerings in the space to reconfigure their deals."
Oaktree -- with about $75 billion in assets under management at the end of last year -- anticipates an offering of 11.3 million Class A shares to be priced between $43 and $46 a stub, Reuters said. The company's gross proceeds thus could range from $485.9 million to $519.9 million, without factoring in the possibility of underwriters exercising their options to purchase additional shares. Of course, the firm's net proceeds would be considerably less.
Making a neat distinction between companies based in the U.S. and companies headquartered in China, the Wall Street Journal noted on Sunday, "The U.S. IPO market began warming up last month, but Chinese companies have yet to break through the ice."
Any Chinese company considering a U.S. listing probably watched the debut last month of online retailer Vipshop Holdings Ltd., the first Chinese firm to launch an IPO on an American exchange since Tudou Holdings Ltd. did it in August, the Journal reported.
Based in Guangzhou, Vipshop priced the American depositary shares in its IPO at $6.50. However, the ADSs opened at $6 on March 23 and closed at $4.35 on Thursday.
It is not an auspicious sign for Chinese stocks, the Journal said with a certain amount of understatement, but bankers and others have told it there still are a number of companies, particularly in the area of technology, that want to attempt the leap into the U.S. market.