Looking back on 2020: five IPO announcements

21 December 2020 | Capacity team

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The year 2020 reshaped the technology and telco space as Covid brought new funding and demand trends.

For some, such developments boosted fortunes no end, however, mid-year insight from GlobalData found that Covid-19 had "significantly slowed" initial public offerings (IPOs) in the TMT sector.

Its figures showed that in H1 the volume of IPOs dropped 25% to 87 flotations compared to H1 2019. Deal value, measured by IPO proceeds, dropped by 24% to US$19.5bn. But in real terms, there was still plenty of activity as the global pandemic brought a slew of new business opportunities.

Swati Verma, senior analyst, thematic research at GlobalData, said: "GlobalData believes that security software, gaming, cloud services, social media, publishing, and ecommerce will all come out of the pandemic in a stronger position."

Here is Capacity's pick of the top announcements.

Starlink

As SpaceX prepared for its latest Starlink satellite launch in February, investment advisers reportedly shared their excitement about the possibility of an initial public offer (IPO) from Starlink that could value the LEO broadband internet company at $30 billion, with revenues of $10 billion a year.

An IPO would also likely make SpaceX owner Elon Musk a lot richer than Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, which has its own broadband satellite plans.

Satellite specialist Euroconsult said in 2019 that the 2019-2028 market will be worth $42.8 billion, compared with $12.6 billion in the previous decade. But that report was written before Musk’s plans were so public: Euroconsult forecast total of 8,600 small satellites will be launched in the next decade, at an average of 835 each year by 2023, growing to an average of 880 a year by 2028.

 

Chindata

Chindata Group Holdings (CGH) detailed the terms of its $540 million US IPO back in September.

In planned to sell 40 million American depositary shares (ADSs) for $11.50 to $13.50 each, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday 23 September.

The company planned to raise an additional $135 million in a private placement to Country Garden Holdings and Shimao Group Holdings running at the same time as the IPO.

Chindata reproted revenues of $119 million (810.6 million Yuan) in H1 of 2020, compared with $32.4 million (221.5 million Yuan) for the same period in 2019. Its net loss fell to $8.6 million (59.4 million Yuan) in the first half of 2020 from $13.8 million (94.9 million Yuan) in 2019.

 

Puppet

In November Puppet named two new additions to its board of directors as it prepared for an IPO.

Michael Day, CEO at Topa Insurance Group, and Mark Hill, chief digital information officer at CSL Behring both join the Puppet board of directors as independent members. They are described by Puppet as “accomplished senior executives with decades of enterprise experience scaling companies and will play key roles in setting Puppet on a path to IPO”.

“As Puppet looks towards its next phase of growth and an eventual IPO, we sought out business leaders who could bring a specific set of skills and expertise to our board,” said Puppet CEO Yvonne Wassenaar.

 

Mavenir

Mavenir, the open RAN specialist that in September bought UK small-cell company ip.access, withdrew its plan to raise US$300 million on the US Nasdaq market.

The company had been due to float its shares but then reduced the size of the offer, and on 30 October cancelled it altogether.

CFO Terry Hungle told the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): “The company has determined not to proceed with the initial public offering contemplated by the registration statement at this time.” He did not give reasons in the letter.

In the IPO, Mavenir was originally due to sell 13.6 million shares at $20-$24 each. But it first cut the planned sale to 12.5 million at the same price – reducing the maximum funds available from $326 million to $300 million – before dropping the idea altogether.

IHS

It was billed as the “biggest IPO of an African company in the US”, pegging the potential value of the firm at US$7 billion. However, since announcing its intention to list back in August, things have been quiet for IHS.

IHS first announced its plans to go public in 2018, but that was put on hold due to political complications in Nigeria. The company is currently owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and South African wireless carrier MTN Group Ltd.

A statement released by IHS on 14 August, read: “IHS Holding Limited today announced that it is exploring a potential registered initial public offering in the United States. The timing, number of shares to be offered and price range of the proposed offering have not yet been determined. Any proposed offering would commence after the completion of a customary U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission review process of a registration statement relating to the proposed offering and subject to market and other conditions.”

JPMorgan and Citi were appointed to handle the process.