IPOs Are Getting Delayed as Volatility Spooks Debutants

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Companies out on the road meeting investors to pitch an initial public offering have hit a bump.

At least two planned listings have been delayed due to market volatility. Hear.com NV, a hearing-aid service provider backed by private equity firm EQT AB, has postponed its IPO, which was slated to price on Thursday, the company said in a statement, confirming an earlier Bloomberg report.

Hear.com said “challenging equity market conditions” led to the delay and it will continue to monitor the market for another window. It was planning to raise as much as $324 million, filings show.

Genworth Financial Inc. announced Thursday that it’s postponing the IPO of its subsidiary Enact Holdings Inc., citing trading volatility in the mortgage insurance sector. Genworth had planned to raise $542 million, according to earlier filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Genworth’s board of directors determined that current market pricing for the planned offering does not accurately reflect Enact’s value,” the company said in a statement.

Brazillian software company Zenvia Inc., which sought to raise as much as $226 million on Thursday, also has postponed its IPO, Dow Jones reported, citing people familiar with the matter. A representative for Zenvia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Volatility Jumps

While all major U.S. indexes snapped back Thursday and recouped some earlier losses, the three-day slide that started the week -- prompted by concerns about inflation -- was enough to spook companies hoping to make their market debuts. The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index rose to the mid-20s level this week, the highest since March. Bankers usually advise companies to go public when the VIX is below 20.

IPOs Are Getting Delayed as Volatility Spooks Debutants

Amir Schlachet, chief executive officer of Global-E Online Ltd., a e-commerce software provider that pushed ahead with its IPO on Wednesday, said the company had “managed to select a pretty horrible day to go to the public market.”

“It’s very hard to time the exact day,” Schlachet said in an interview. “What really matters is how it trades in three months, six months, one year.”

Bumble, Honest

The turbulence has also affected other equity issuances, and hit companies that have recently joined the public markets. BRT Apartments Corp. canceled a secondary offering of two million shares, citing volatility. Its stock jumped as much as 15% on the news.

Shares in Bumble Inc., Honest Co., Affirm Holdings Inc. and Couping Inc., which all went public this year, have each slipped below their IPO prices in recent days.

The pullback could threaten 2021’s booming market for IPOs, which has seen companies raise more than $277 billion globally in the biggest start to a year on record.

Oatly, Squarespace

Much of that activity has come from a rush to launch special purpose acquisition companies, with blank-check listings accounting more more than a third of the market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. SPAC issuance is already under threat, though, after a crackdown by U.S. regulators on how accounting rules are applied to the shell companies.

A bounceback by end of Thursday could benefit next week’s listing hopefuls. Oatmilk maker Oatly Group AB is expected to start raise up to $1.65 billion and begin trading next week while website designer Squarespace Inc. had said in a filing that its direct listing is happening on Wednesday.

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