Q4 2018 IPOs: Auditor Market Share and Stats


There were 55 initial public offerings in U.S. markets between October 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018. These 55 IPOs raised roughly $9.5 billion, a decrease of over $3 billion from the same period last year and a decrease of $4 billion from last quarter.

All told, there were 255 U.S. IPOs in 2018, which raised over $66 billion. For comparison purposes, there were 215 IPOs in 2017, which raised over $48 billion and 129 IPOs in 2016, which raised over $24 billion.

Industry Analysis

StoneCo Ltd. [STNE], a Computer Processing and Data Preparation (NAICS 522320) company, raised the most among all IPOs this quarter – totaling $1.1 billion, the ninth largest IPO amount this year.

Looking at the industry breakdown, Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing (NAICS 325412) had the most transactions in 2018, with 42 new IPOs totaling over $3.4 billion in aggregate proceeds. Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services (NAICS 51821) had 7 new IPOs, raising over $12.8 billion (almost four times the proceeds of the Pharmaceutical industry).

Accounting and Legal Representation

The top IPO this quarter, StoneCo Ltd. [STNE], was audited by Ernst & Young and represented by Davis Polk & Wardwell and White & Case.

The top IPO this year, Spotify Technology S.A. [SPOT], was audited by Ernst & Young and represented by Latham & Watkins.

Auditor Market Share

The Big Four audited 30 IPOs (55% of the IPO market) in Q4 and 156 IPOs (61% of the IPO market) for the year.

PwC had 13 IPO audit clients, the most for all firms in Q4. Ernst & Young’s 9 IPO clients raised the highest amount among all firms of over $2.9 billion.

As seen in the table below, PwC also held the top spot for the entire year with 60 IPO clients, followed by Ernst & Young LLP with 44 IPO clients. EY’s 44 clients raised the highest amount, in aggregate, nearing $23.1 billion.

KPMG and Marcum tied at 4th, in terms of count, with 25 IPO clients each. However, Withum ranked 4th in terms of proceeds, as their clients raised over $4.9 billion in 2018.

Emerging Growth Companies

235 of the 255 IPO companies, or 92%, elected to register as emerging growth companies (“EGCs”).


2018 saw the most IPOs, as well as the highest proceeds from IPOs since 2014 with the help of Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services companies like Spotify [SPOT] going public.

It’ll be interesting to see what’s in store for the IPO market in 2019, considering the possible impact of the recent government shutdown. Major companies such as Uber, Lyft, Pinterest and Airbnb have all indicated plans to go public and the shutdown is unlikely to derail their plans. For smaller companies, however, the window of opportunity might be more narrow and some companies may choose alternative capital access routes.