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More Than 80 Percent of IPOs Involve Companies Losing Money

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Oct 2, 2018
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A recent study from the University of Florida has found that investors have never been more forgiving than they are now, as 83 percent of all initial public offerings so far this year involved companies that had lost money the year before, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite these losses, stocks of money-losing companies nonetheless increased by 36 percent on average from their IPO price, better in fact than those of companies actually making money: Stocks of companies that were profitable gained an average of 32 percent from their IPO price over the same time. For instance, SurveyMonkey parent company SVMK Inc. had a $24 million net loss in 2017, but its stock value still increased by more than 40 percent upon launch. 

This level of interest is unprecedented, even compared to the height of the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s. In the year 2000, the proportion of unprofitable companies going public was 81 percent; this year, so far, it is 83 percent. 

The research echoes another data point indicating a certain degree of irrational exuberance regarding the stock market, as noted by MarketWatch: The number of companies trading at more than 10 times their revenue is the highest it has ever been since the late '90s dot-com bubble. At the beginning of 2000, that number stood at more than 400. Today, in 2018, that number is nearly 350. 

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