That record week for IPOs? It got downgraded tooAugust 8, 2011: 4:09 PM ET
This week's IPOs will not be passing any milestones after all. Instead, most will open at a considerable discount or wait for calmer times.
By Alex Konrad, contributor
FORTUNE -- It was supposed to be a milestone week. For only the second time since the recession began, Wall Street was hoping to crack an IPO record with as many as 12 new possible listings. Now, with Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt pummeling the market, that hope is long gone. This summer's IPO market is likely to go out with a whimper -- just as it was supposed to be roaring.
Some companies will forge ahead and list this week, but those brave few will have to do so knowing they are leaving money on the table. According to reports by IPO experts Renaissance Capital, each of the last two weeks had the potential to be the busiest in years. Last week's default crisis helped kill that prospect then. S&P's Friday-night action has now claimed this week as a casualty too. Cathay Industrial Biotech, a Shanghai-based diacid and bio-fuel producer, has pulled the plug on its scheduled opening to pursue alternative methods of financing, according to a release yesterday by its backer HBM BioVentures Ltd. That means Wall Street will have to wait until the fall for another shot.
The outlook for the other planned 11 IPOs of the week is mixed; some may still go through. Carbonite, known to techies as a name-brand online backup provider, illustrates the dilemma. If it does postpone, it won't be because of weakness inside the company, but because the markets are simply too volatile. It is still the likeliest to go ahead according to Linda Killian, a Principal at Renaissance Capital who manages its global IPO fund.
Listing despite the turmoil has its downsides, though. Killian notes that companies will have to live with less than they could have raised otherwise, listing at a lower price to get the deal done. Moreover, companies run the risk of undersubscribing when they do set a listing price, forcing some to slash the number of shares they offer. American Capital Mortgage (MTGE), the only IPO to go through last week, had originally filed to raise $350 million on 17.5 million shares, but ultimately offered only 8 million shares to raise $160 million.
The two biggest scheduled IPOs for the week might both be able to make it to the market in the energy sector. SandRidge Permian Trust leads the pack with a potential to raise over $600 million. Enduro Royalty Trust, meanwhile, could raise over $300 million. Killian considers both IPOs yield plays that might continue simply to raise capital while they can.
Some scheduled IPOs have already been delayed and may be put off yet again. WhiteGlove Health, a membership-based health care services company, has delayed to Wednesday, but don't hold your breath. WageWorks, an employee-benefits provider, had to slash its price range to make an initial offering this week even remotely plausible. More defections are likely to come.
After the misery of August, banner days may still be ahead for Groupon, Zynga and other social media companies coming down the pipeline. Killian says that the market would have to get much worse to slow them down -- even though they might not make the impact they would have if they'd listed in July. The downgrade looks to have slammed shut the IPO window. Exhale, Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN). You made it just in time.