There were 407 initial public offerings in U.S. markets between January 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021; groundbreaking for any quarter since at least 2000. Together, these 407 IPOs raised over $134.6 billion – an increase of over $124 billion from the same period last year and an increase of over $69 billion from last quarter. Similar to last quarter, this unprecedented IPO activity was primarily driven by blank check IPOs, which comprised 73.2% of the IPO market this quarter.
As shown in the graph above, the number of IPOs in Q1 2021 represents a 971% increase from Q1 2020. This quarter’s 407 IPOs raised over $134.6 billion – the highest amount (in a single quarter of the IPO market) observed over the last 21 years.
There were fourteen IPOs with proceeds greater than or equal to $1 billion this quarter. Roblox Corp [RBLX], a digital games company, raised over $8.95 billion – topping the charts in terms of proceeds this quarter and ranking as the sixth highest IPO since 2000. Worth noting, this IPO was not a traditional IPO. Roblox went public through a direct listing of its shares. Coupang, Inc. [CPNG], an ecommerce company, raised $4.55 billion, the second highest IPO this quarter in terms of proceeds, ranking as the twelfth highest IPO since 2000.
Accounting and Legal Representation
The top IPO this quarter, Roblox Corp, was audited by Deloitte and represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Coupang, Inc., was represented by Cooley and Latham & Watkins. We are unable to determine the Company’s auditor at this time.1
Auditor Market Share – All IPOs
Together, the Big Four audited 81 IPOs, or 19.9%, of the IPO market in Q1 2021.
#Auditor Market Share for 407 #IPO companies in Q1 2021: Marcum [36%]; Withum [34%]; EY [6%]; KPMG [5%]; PwC [5%]; Deloitte [3%]; and all other firms [10%]
— Audit Analytics (@AuditAnalytics) April 20, 2021
As shown in the table below, among all types of IPOs, Marcum led with 148 IPO clients, the most for all firms in Q1 2021. In terms of proceeds, Withum’s 138 IPO clients brought in over $43.3 billion, the highest amount raised this quarter. Worth noting, all of Withum’s clients were blank check companies. Marcum followed with a total of $39.1 billion from their 148 IPO clients.
Auditor Market Share – Excluding Blank Check Companies
Out of the 407 IPOs in U.S. markets this quarter, 298 (or 73.2%) were blank check companies.
A blank check company has no established business plan or operations and can serve as a vessel to engage in a merger or acquisition with an unidentified company, entity, or other person.
The table below displays the auditor market share for IPOs in Q1 2021 excluding blank check companies.
Without blank check companies, the Big Four hold the lead in terms of IPO count and amount raised. Together, these four firms audited 72 IPOs, or 66.1%, of the IPO market in Q1 2021. EY led with 25 initial public offering clients – the most for all firms in Q1 – followed by PwC with 18 IPO clients. Deloitte held the top spot in terms of gross proceeds with 14 IPO clients raising over $14.7 billion.
Emerging Growth Companies
389 of the 407 IPO companies, or 95.6%, elected to register as emerging growth companies (EGCs) in Q1 2021.
This quarter has had the highest IPO activity of all-time with more record-breaking numbers of blank check companies. It will be interesting to see if this surge continues in the next quarter, especially considering the SEC’s recent statements regarding SPACs.
1. The audit opinion contained in the registration statement for Coupang, Inc. references “Coupang, LLC and its subsidiaries.” Per our methodology, we do not consider the opinion applicable to the Company, as it does not specifically reference Coupang, Inc.↩
This analysis uses data from the IPO database, powered by Audit Analytics.
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