2020 is going to be a strong year for initial public offerings, according to the presidents of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
“We are having a lot of meetings, a lot of interest, a lot of companies looking to tap the public markets in the first half,” Nasdaq President and CEO Adena Friedman told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday from the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.
“We have roughly 30 or so companies that have already filed with the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission], many more that are talking to us and looking to list in 2020,” echoed NYSE President Stacey Cunningham on “Squawk Box.”
Although 2019 was the best IPO market since 2014, Cunningham noted, only a “handful got a lot of attention.”
2019 was plagued with some disappointing market debuts and failures. Some highly anticipated technology companies in the IPO stages, such as Uber and Lyft, and pre-IPO stages, like WeWork, made headlines for their lack of profitability. The public markets spoke and Uber and Lyft ended the year as some of the most disappointing public offerings.
“I think what we saw at the end of the year is investors asking questions they hadn’t really been asking before. Investors are looking for not just growth, but profits,” said Cunningham.
Lyft, Peloton, Beyond Meat, SmileDirectClub and Zoom all went public on the Nasdaq in 2019. Uber, Pinterest, Virgin Galantic, Chewy and Levi Strauss went public on the NYSE last year.
“Right now the pipeline of prospects, IPO prospects, is very strong, very interesting,” said Friedman.
Friedman said there is strong demand from both private equity held companies as well as technology companies. Biotechnology and financial technology companies also continue to be strong parts of the industry, Friedman added.
“The first couple that come out of the gate will really set the tone for the year,” said Cunningham.
“I think also the resiliency of the economy has been very strong and so you’re seeing that and I think that there’s more and more confidence coming into the markets,” said Friedman. “People feel like its the right time for investors to take that equity risk.”