December 18, 2020
You might call 2020 the year of the initial public offering. Despite the significant adverse economic impact of the current pandemic, the number of IPOs in 2020 soared to a 20-year high, with more than 460 IPOs thus far this year – a sharp increase from the meager 95 in 2019. With the year finally wrapping up, let’s take a look at some of the winners.
When shares of DoorDash Inc. (Tii:DASH) went public earlier this month, shares of the food delivery service rose 86% on its first trading day and raising $3.4 billion in one of the more successful IPOs of 2020. The success of the No. 2 U.S. food delivery service (behind Grubhub Inc. (Tii:GRUB) and ahead of Uber Eats) is unsurprising, considering that demand for its service surged during the pandemic amid quarantine recommendations and a lack of dine-in options.
Underscoring the fervent demand for IPOs this year, shares of online vacation rental marketplace Airbnb, Inc. (Tii:ABNB) closed on the Nasdaq at $146 on December 10, its first day of trading. This was more than double Airbnb’s $68 IPO price and valued the company at more than $100 billion. One might assume that an IPO by a company connected to the travel industry would have fallen flat at a time when travel is at an all-time low, but not so for this Silicon Valley darling. Perhaps investors are taking a long-term approach to these shares. After all, the company has 5.6 million active listings in more than 220 countries and regions. Likely, it will be well-positioned when consumers take to the skies again.
While shares of Maravai LifeSciences Holdings, Inc. (Tii:MRVI) may not have had the stellar first day on the exchange as have many of the others mentioned here, the company raised more than $1.6 billion in its November IPO, selling 60 million shares at $27 each. Although its shares are now trading relatively flat, the initial price was at the high end of its projected range in an upsized IPO. Maravai is a global provider of life science products and services to researchers and the biotech industry, including messenger RNA vaccines for COVID-19.
Though more an investment vehicle than a pharmaceutical company, another 2020 winner is Royalty Pharma plc (Tii:RPRX). The company acquires interests in marketed and late-stage biopharmaceutical products and generates revenues by way of royalty agreements with the drug companies that developed them. Founded by billionaire Pablo Legorreta as a private equity vehicle, Royalty Pharma purchased stakes in such popular drugs as Humira, Lyrica, and Imbruvica well before becoming well-known brands. The company sold 77.7 million shares at $28 each in its June IPO, which valued Royalty Pharma at $16.7 billion. These shares climbed to $45 each at the end of the first day of trading for a $26.8 billion valuation.
If there was a crown for the hottest IPO of the year, it would likely go to Snowflake Inc. (Tii:SNOW). This cloud-based data-warehousing company went public back in September in one of the biggest software IPOs ever. The Berkshire Hathaway-backed company closed its first trading day with a gain of more than 110%, raising nearly $3.4 billion from the sale of some 28 million shares. Like DoorDash, this company has also benefited from a pandemic-related shift as increased demand for cloud computing solutions resulted in $159.6 million in total revenue for its third quarter of fiscal 2021, a 119% year-over-year increase.
Unsurprisingly, video game content demand – and revenues – skyrocketed during the lockdown. The global gaming market is expected to generate $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020, a 9.3% increase from 2019, according to a report by Newzoo senior market analyst Tom Wijman. Newzoo, the premier source for games and esports analytics and market research, further predicts the industry to surpass $200 billion in revenue in 2023. This trend helped propel Unity Software Inc. (Tii:U) to one of the hottest IPOs of the year. Shares of the video game software developer behind hits like “Fall Guys,” “Pokémon Go,” and “Call of Duty: Mobile” gained 44% on its first day of trading. This gave the company an estimated value of $13.7 billion, despite a lack of profitability.
Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Xpeng Inc. (Tii:XPEV) raised $1.5 billion through its August IPO. Shares of the Tesla, Inc. (Tii:TSLA) competitor climbed more than 40% on its first day of trading to close at $21.22. Since then, its stock price has continued to rise, gaining 113% as investors look at soaring demand for vehicles that are not dependent on fossil fuels. Xpeng has ramped up production of its cars, having announced that it delivered 21,341 vehicles year-to-date through November 2020 – an 87% increase year-over-year. Of that total, 4,224 were delivered in November alone.
There were many more winners in 2020 than is mentioned here. While many of the trends that resulted in these stellar IPOs are likely to continue into at least part of 2021, only time will tell which of these companies have sustainable long-term potential.