Q3 2015 IPOs: Auditor Market Share

There were 42 initial public offerings in U.S. markets between July 1, 2015 and Sep 30, 2015, representing a decrease of 33% from the same period last year when there were 63 IPOs. The total amount raised this quarter was $6.7 billion, well below the $36.7 billion raised last year. Such a large amount was raised last year thanks mainly to the $22 billion Alibaba IPO in September 2014. In contrast, the largest IPO this quarter was the July offering of Blue Buffalo Pet Products (BUFF), which raised $676.6 million, just 3% of Alibaba’s proceeds.

All told, there have been 157 U.S. IPOs in the first three quarters of 2015, which raised over $29 billion. For comparison, the same period in 2014 raised over $70 billion, and about $40 billion was raised in the first three quarters of 2013.

Industry Analysis
Pharmaceuticals (NAICS 325412) and Biological Products (325414) led the way through the first three quarters of 2015, with 36 and 10 IPOs, respectively. Pharmaceutical companies raised almost half the quarter’s total ($3 billion), and Biological Products raised $1 billion.

Auditor Market Share
As usual, the Big Four tended to dominate the IPO market, but in an unusual development, the regional firm WithumSmith+Brown came in fourth place in Q3 2015.

WithumSmith+Brown’s 10% was composed of four “blank check” acquisition vehicles. No connection was immediately apparent. For the full year, the Big Four took the top four places, with Marcum LLP following up in fifth, and BDO and Grant Thornton right behind.

Through the end of the third quarter, EY has the lead with about 24% of all IPO companies, continuing the firm’s strong showing in this market over the past couple years.

Emerging Growth Companies
145 of the total 157 (92%) IPO companies so far this year designated as Emerging Growth Companies. This represents a significant increase over the use of the special JOBS Act designation; roughly 81% of IPO companies over the same period last year were EGCs.

Overall, IPO activity is down compared to last year, both in the number of offerings and the amount raised.