Q2 2020 IPOs: Auditor Market Share and Stats

Overview

There were 62 initial public offerings in U.S. markets between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020. Together, these IPOs raised over $18.5 billion for the quarter, an increase of over $8.7 billion from last quarter and a decrease of roughly $14.2 billion from the same period last year. This was surprising, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is still ongoing.

As shown in the graph below, the amount raised by IPOs in Q2 2020 was the third highest and in terms of IPO count, the second lowest among all second quarters over the last five years.

Industry Analysis

There was one unicorn this quarter: Royalty Pharma plc [RPRX], a U.S. company that invests in royalty interests in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products. Royalty Pharma plc raised the most among all IPOs this quarter – totaling $2.18 billion.

Accounting and Legal Representation

The top IPO this quarter, Royalty Pharma plc, was represented by Davis Polk & Wardwell, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and Goodwin Procter. We are unable to determine the Company’s auditor at this time.1

Auditor Market Share

Combined, the Big Four audited 30 IPOs, or 48.3%, of the IPO market in Q2 2020.

Marcum led with 12 IPO audit clients in Q2 2020, followed by PwC and EY, each with 10 IPO audit clients. PwC’s IPO clients raised the highest amount among all firms, bringing in nearly $3.6 billion. Withum ranked second in terms of proceeds, with 9 IPO clients raising over $3.5 billion, while Marcum ranked third, with 12 IPO clients raising over $2.7 billion in Q2 2020.

Auditor Market Share – Excluding Blank Check Companies

Of the 62 IPOs in U.S. markets this quarter, 23 IPOs, or 37.1%, 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 Q2 2020, excluding blank check companies. Without blank check companies, the Big Four and BDO hold the lead in terms of IPO count and amount raised. The Big Four audited 29 IPOs, or 74.4%, of the IPO market in Q2 2020. EY leads with 10 IPO audit clients, the most for all firms in Q2. PwC maintains its top spot in terms of gross proceeds, with 9 IPO clients raising over $2.8 billion.

Emerging Growth Companies

Of the 62 IPOs in Q2 2020, 59 companies, or 95.2%, elected to register as emerging growth companies (EGCs).

Conclusion

Since 2016, IPO activity in the second quarter has gradually increased each year. However, in 2020 we began to see a decline in IPO activity towards the end of Q1 and beginning of Q2, as many countries around the world instituted a full or partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of Q2, as the lockdown eased around the world, IPO activity picked up. With the ongoing pandemic and many U.S. states taking steps to either halt or reverse plans to reopen, it will be interesting to see what is in store for the IPO market next quarter.


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1.The audit opinion contained in the registration statement for Royalty Pharma plc references “Royalty Pharma Investments and subsidiaries .” Per our methodology, we do not consider the opinion applicable to the Company, as it does not specifically reference Royalty Pharma plc.