Friday, November 11, 2011

Is Going Public a viable Exit Strategy?

When I began practicing securities law in the late 1990's, it was the golden era of public offerings.  It seemed anybody with a hot idea and a Silicon Valley address was taking their company public.  That's no longer the case.  The Great Recession has really put a damper on the number of public offerings generally, and initial public offerings in particular.  According to the September issue of Inc. magazine, only 67 companies have gone public so far this year in the United States, 109 went public in 2010, and only 48 went public in 2009.  Accordingly, shareholders of private companies seeking a near-term exit strategy should generally be thinking of a sale in a privately negotiated M&A transaction rather than tapping into the public equity markets. 

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