Q4 2017 IPOs: Auditor Market Share and Stats


There were 68 initial public offerings in U.S. markets in the fourth quarter of 2017, more than doubling from the same period last year when there were 33 IPOs. The total amount raised this quarter was $12.8 billion, a significant increase from the $7.8 billion raised in Q4 of last year and the $7.4 billion raised last quarter.

All told, there were 208 U.S. IPOs in 2017, which raised over $47 billion. For comparison, 2016 saw 128 IPOs raising over $23 billion, and 2015 had 204 IPOs that raised over $38 billion.

Industry Analysis

Qudian Inc., a consumer lending company (NAICS 52291), raised the most this quarter, totaling $900 million, the fifth largest IPO amount this year.

Software Publishers (NAICS 511210) and Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing (NAICS 325412) were at the top of the leaderboard again in 2017, with 14 and 29 IPOs, respectively. Software publishing companies raised about 12% of the total for the year ($5.7 billion) and pharmaceutical companies raised about $2.5 billion (5%).

Auditor Market Share

The Big Four audited 55% of the U.S. IPOs in Q4 and 57% of the U.S. IPOs for the year.

Ernst & Young had 17 IPO audit clients, the most for all firms in Q4. Ernst & Young’s clients also raised the highest amount among all firms, raising over $4.7 billion.

As seen in the table below, Ernst & Young also held the top spot for the entire year with 40 IPO clients, followed by PwC with 30 IPO clients. Ernst & Young’s clients also raised the highest amount, nearing $11.6 billion.

Marcum and WithumSmith + Brown ranked 5th and 6th for the year, with 18 and 12 IPO clients, respectively. The audit firms flip ranks with regard to amount raised. WithumSmith + Brown ranked 5th, their clients raised $3.8 billion, and Marcum ranked 6th, their clients raised $3.3 billion.

Emerging Growth Companies

181 of the 208 IPO companies, or 87%, elected to register as emerging growth companies (“EGCs”).


2017 saw the most IPOs and the highest proceeds from IPOs since 2014 with the help of big software companies like Snap Inc. and Sea Ltd. going public. However, many investors are concerned that the upward trend may not continue in 2018, as larger companies are still hesitant to go public, noted The Wall Street Journal.

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