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Party’s Over: Tech IPOs Collapse on Wall Street

The tech sector is no longer the hottest place to be on the stock market. Initial public offerings (IPOs) have plummeted in tech in 2015, putting the sector behind health care and financial companies.

TechCrunch is calling is the “worst year for tech IPOs since 2009.”

The U.S. IPO market has remained strong in 2015, with a total of 169 companies raising $29.9 billion from new public offerings, according to Renaissance Capital’s data base.

But unlike the last few years, the tech sector only made up 14 percent of IPOs in 2015, down from an average of 25 percent per year from 2009 to 2014. Unlike the 55 new tech IPOs in 2014 that raised over $35 billion, there have only been 23 new tech issues, raising a paltry $4.2 billion in 2015.

The total return from investing in new tech deals this year has only been 1 percent. But that has still been better than investing in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index, which fell by -3.79 percent for the week ending December 11, and is down about 2.26 percent for 2015.

About half of the tech companies that went public in 2015 are tracking for negative returns on their stock price,–including Etsy, which slumped by 41 percent. A number of other highly anticipated tech IPOs in 2015 had to cut their expected offering prices substantially to complete their launch. Box and Square both had to cut their new issue price to below what venture capital investors had paid when the companies were still private.

Health care dominated 2015 by taking a 46 percent market share, with 78 successfully completed deals raising over $6.7 billion. Finance raised the second largest amount of cash, with 23 deals generating $5.1 billion in proceeds.

Some analysts claim that tech companies have been able to raise all the cash they need through private venture capital deals, such as the 131 “unicorns” that report having billion-dollar-plus private equity valuations. But that seems to be countered by the fact that 57 companies that were trying to go public cancelled their IPOs in 2015 after they had already paid the expenses to register with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

According to the Gartner Group, the tech sector may be in the late stages of a “Hype Cycle,” similar to how tech IPOs began shrinking 1999 and 2007 just before the tech markets plunged.

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