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IPO Activity Picks Up

The REITs are coming! IPO activity picks up.

Markets up, and a shift in sentiment, means a more positive environment for IPOs.

The most interesting development in the IPO world is a veritable avalanche of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) IPOs that are coming in the next weeks. The purpose: to pick at the carcass of distressed residential and commercial real estate.

On Tuesday, Sep. 22 two REIT IPOs:

1) Colony Financial (CLNY)

  • 25 million at $20
  • Acquire, originate and manage a diversified portfolio of real estate related debt instruments.

2) Apollo Commercial (REIT) (ARI)

  • 20 m shares at $20.00
  • REIT focusing on commercial mortgage loans

On Thursday, Sep. 24

Foursquare Capital Corp. (FSQR)

  • 25 m shares at $20
  • Focus on acquiring residential mortgages

On Tuesday, September 29:

Ladder Capital Realty (LCG) Tuesday, Sep. 29

  • 20 m shares at $20.00
  • REIT that will acquire and manage commercial real estate first mortgage loans secured by income-producing properties.

Two other non-REIT IPOs of interest next week:

Wednesday, September 23

Artio Global Investors (ART)

  • $585,000,000
  • 23.4 m between $24-$26
  • Investment advisor; formerly Julius Baer asset management company

Thursday, September 24

Shanda (GAME)

  • 63 m shares from $10.50-$12.50
  • Online game company in China

Elsewhere:

Cash on the sidelines? Yes, but maybe not as much as you think. That's become a mantra, a magic wand that is waved by every bull: "There's an OCEAN of cash on the sidelines," they exclaim, waiving their arms.

But is there? Data on this is tough to come by, but here's one way to look at it: how much money is parked in money market funds, vs. the total amount of money in stocks?

If there was an "ocean of cash" on the sidelines, the percentage should be high.

Here is the ratio of dollars in money market funds relative to U.S. equity capitalization:

  • Now: 30%
  • March: 46%
  • Average: 20%
  • Source: Datastream/Credit Suisse

The evidence indicates that there is still cash on the sidelines, more than the historic average, but much less than there was in March.

One important point: this does not mean that all the money came out of money market funds and into stocks. Indeed, the evidence is that much of the money went into bond funds until very recently, and no doubt some of it just went to pay bills.

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