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The outlook for the U.S. initial public offering heading into the second quarter is “foggy,” and will likely remain subdued unless returns improve and risk appetite recovers, according to Renaissance Capital.

The market slowed to a crawl in the first quarter, with just 18 deals raising $2.1 billion to mark the quietest first quarter in six years, said the provider of institutional research and IPO ETFs in a new report.

“Plummeting returns at the end of 2021 effectively put an end to the past year’s IPO boom, and coupled with the escalating war in Europe, issuance ground to a halt in late February,” said the report.

The market does have a solid backlog of deals waiting to pull the trigger once conditions improve, however. There are currently 132 companies on file looking to raise almost $20 billion, and 89 of those are in the “active pipeline,” meaning they have filed or updated terms in the last 90 days.

Technology companies lead the pack with 22 of the “active pipeline” deals, followed by healthcare at 28 and consumer discretionary at 15. The median deal size in the pipeline is $30 million, with 27 deals expected to raise $100 million or more.

“Profitable growth is a common theme among the most likely candidates for second quarter IPOs, and there are several more mature companies in the pipeline, contrasting the high-growth large-loss issuers that have been the standard in recent years,” said the report.

Source: Renaissance Capital

Among the bigger deals are those pending from eyecare company Bausch & Lomb, retailer Mattress Firm and grocer The Fresh Market. In the tech space, car sharing platform Turo and marketing software company Basis Global Technologies are expected to lead.

In the first quarter, the biggest deal was that of private-equity firm TPG Inc. TPG, +5.05%, which raised $1 billion in January some 30 years after launching under the name Texas Pacific Group. The company joined rivals Blackstone Inc. BX, +5.44%, Carlyle Group Inc. CG, +3.12%, KKR & Co. Inc. KKR, +5.09% and Apollo Global Management Inc. APO, +3.93% as a public company.

Also Read: The TPG IPO: 5 things to know about private-equity firm valued at $9 billion

That deal alone accounted for almost half of the quarter’s proceeds. Most of the quarter’s deals were by microcaps, pushing the median deal size down to $27 million, the lowest in at least two decades, said Renaissance.

The special-purpose acquisition corporation, or SPAC trend, also cooled with an almost 70% decline in deals pricing compared with the fourth quarter and an increase in deals being pulled, in redemption rates and merger terminations.

See now: At least 3 SPACs pull IPOs in latest sign popular pandemic route to public markets is losing steam

For more: The SPAC crackdown hasn’t truly begun, but the SEC is obviously considering it

There were 53 SPAC offerings raising $8.8 billion, down 90% from the year-earlier period.

“In order to get deals done, SPACs scaled back the size of their offerings and added various incentives to IPO buyers, such as overfunded trusts, increased warrants, founder shares, and shorter lifespans,” said the report.

“While SPAC IPOs raised more than quadruple the capital of traditional IPOs in the first quarter, a substantial portion of those funds may be returned to shareholders if current redemption rates persist.”

The Renaissance IPO ETF IPO, +3.85% had its worst quarter since 2011, falling 25%. That was well below the S&P 500’s SPX, +0.76% roughly 3% drop.

Read now: The IPOs to expect in 2022: Reddit, Instacart and others could hit Wall Street

Source: This post first appeared on http://marketwatch.com/

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