The seas of the market are constantly shifting, and whether the good ship IPO can set sail may depend heavily on the tides.
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In 1604, the newly formed Dutch East India Company, raising capital to outfit their fleet became the first company to issue stock for public purchase. In 2013, 222 companies did the same, holding an initial public offering or IPO to offer shares of the company to the public. Even for companies that don’t operate on the high seas, IPO can be subject to sea changes in the market.
If it can be said that rising tides will lift all boats, the opposite is also true during periods of strong markets and abundance of IPOs take place. For example, between 1980 and 2000, an average of 311 companies per year held IPOs. After the technology bubble burst in 2000, yearly IPOs dropped steadily to a low of just 21 in 2008. Small firms took the biggest hit.
Many factors are cited for this decrease, but the cause might simply be that smaller firms chose other ways to raise money in a volatile stock market, leaving larger firms as the only IPOs brave enough to set sail. The seas of the market are constantly shifting and whether the good ship IPO can set sail may depend heavily on the tides.
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