Twitter's impending initial public offering (IPO), which prices tonight, is sucking the air out of a crowded IPO room. I told you on Tuesday that this was the biggest week for IPOs since 2006, with 16 pricing this week. Their total value? A whopping $4 billion.
Of that, $1.7 billion is from Twitter, and judging by what happened overnight, Twitter is drowning out its challengers on the primary market. Several companies priced at the low end of the range last night and one--Latin American airline Avianca (AVH) pricing below. Another couldn't even price at all.
There are three or four "magic" words in IPO land, that denote hot sectors. Right now, those words are social media, biotech/oncology, cloud computing, and internet security.
Barracuda Networks falls squarely into the internet security space, yet it priced last night at the low end of the range. Some internet traders I spoke with said valuations were too high. Perhaps investors are starting to get satiated with the whole security/cloud IPO space? These hot spaces do have life spans.
Still, the trend continued with other IPOs. Mavenir Systems, which provides enhanced services for mobile communications, couldn't even price last night. They are supposed to try again tonight.
Even without Twitter, the week is unusually crowded. There's a lot competing for attention. Some of these are in hot spaces, others are not.
Twitter has garnered more attention than any IPO since Facebook. Why would you want to take a company public in a week when it will get lost in the crowd?
Who benefits from pushing all this stuff out in a week? Your friendly underwriter, of course. The IPO market is a follower: You need a strong market at your back, and you get the stuff out the door when you can. If you have to cut the price, you do it. And if the company isn't happy? It's now or never. You can't price a deal in a down market. The sun is up, make hay. It won't last forever.
Sorry about the cliches, but you get the point. And there could be even more subtle things going on. Don't want to take some of this IPO stuff, Mr. Institutional Investor? Take this stuff or you don't get your Twitter allocation.
Among those brave enough to become Twitter's warm-up act:
1) Barracuda Networks (CUDA) priced 4.1 million shares at $18 each, at the low end of the $18 to $21 range;
2) Arc Logistics Partners (ARCX) priced 6.0 million shares at $19 apiece, at the low end of the $19 to $21 range. ARCX offers crude oil terminals and has a yield of 7.75 percent;
3) Blue Capital Reinsurance Holdings (BCRH) priced 6.3 million shares at $20 each, in line with the $20 price talk. It is a property catastrophe reinsurer backed by Montpelier;
4) Avianca Holdings (AVH) priced 27.2 million shares at $15 apiece, below the $17 to $20 range. AVH is a Latin American airline;
5) Wix.com (WIX) priced 7.7 million shares at $16.50 apiece, at the high end of the $14.50 to $16.50 range. WIX offers an Israeli-based web developer platform;
6) Karyopharm Therapeutics (KPTI) priced 6.8 million shares - more than the 5.7 million expected - at $16 each, at the high end of the $14 to $16 price talk. The company is a cancer biotech - a hot space in the IPO market this year.