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Dell may be going private, but 2013 could see a bump in IPOs

IPO

Use these story ideas to inspire a profile on a private equity or venture capital firm on your beat.

Iconic computer-maker Dell Inc. being taken private in a $24-billion-plus deal (led by company founder Michael Dell) caused quite the buzz on Wall Street. Assuming shareholders approve the deal, it will be the biggest leveraged buyout since the financial crisis, according to most reports.

Big private equity deals have not been uncommon over the past decade, though stifled by the recession, as this July 2012 Ernst & Young report points out.  As background, here’s a 2012 report from consulting firm KPMG on the outlook for private equity in 2013; it includes information by sector that may pertain to your beats.  And this New York Times “Times Topics” page on the private equity industry includes a number of informative articles, including one in which industry execs muse about rebranding their line of work, which has sometimes received pejorative “vulture” labels.

Perhaps you’ll want to profile private equity or venture capital firms in your area, or simply seek their input on likely targets in your market, or hot sectors; if so here’s a list from Private Equity International magazine of the Top 50 firms including their headquarters city.  The magazine offers a more extensive list to subscribers buy may share with journalists so might be worth a call.  I had limited success searching “private equity” on LinkedIn; you might also try regional banks for leads to big private investment firms.

Paying off shareholders in favor of private ownership isn’t all that common, though, and it got me to wondering if the flip side of the coin might provide any fodder for local business journalists to spin off the headline-grabbing Dell deal.  According to a number of reports — and judging by the stock market performance recently – 2013 looks could be a decent year for initial public stock offerings, or IPOs, according to securities attorneys surveyed for KCSA Strategic Communications in New York.  (At least compared to the last couple of years, when — the rather fraught Facebook IPO notwithstanding — public offerings were down and sometimes even aborted at the last minute — who wants to go up for sale when prices are generally depressed?)  The looming sequestration or fiscal cliff drama may dampen optimism, but it’s still worth looking into which firms in your region may be hoping to expand and raise capital by selling themselves to shareholders.

NASDAQ says the“2013 US IPO calendar builds quickly” and SeekingAlpha says last month posted the most January IPO pricings since 2006, making it the second-most-active January for IPO pricing in the decade.  Pfizer launched animal health care company Zoetis for more than $2 billion which reportedly is helping market confidence.  Check out IPO calendars at Yahoo! and NASDAQ for leads to companies in your area.

The firm Renaissance Capital also is a go-to resource for information about the IPO market and about IPO returns; its IPO Index series measures performance of IPOs in a variety of markets; the RC site also offers stats by industry and other useful context.   Hoovers IPO Central also is a helpful resource for business writers.

 

About the Author

Veteran financial writer Melissa Preddy served as a business writer, editor and columnist for The Detroit News from 1995 to 2008, is a Michigan-based freelance journalist. She now works as a writer and editor for a medical research unit of the University of Michigan Medical School. Follow her daily posts. | E-mail: Melissa Preddy

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