Jan 27, 2020

The IPO-pocalypse didn't last long

Photo: Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The IPO-pocalypse sure didn't last long.

What's happening: Three months after WeWork pulled its offering, we're expecting an offering above $1 billion this week and another next week. It also appears that mattress maker Casper will push forward with its listing, albeit as an "undercorn."

  • First up will be Reynolds Consumer Products, which is best known for its aluminum foils, plastic wraps and Hefty trash bags. At the top of its range, it would raise around $1.3 billion at a $5.7 billion market cap.
  • Next week we should get PPD, a private equity-owned pharma contract research group that could raise $1.6 billion at a $9.2 billion market cap.

Yes, both of these are profitable, well-established companies. And few pundits seem to care about the unprofitable biotechs that also expect to price this week (sorry biotechs — maybe you should do something more interesting than curing our diseases and saving our lives... have you considered scooters?).

So that brings us to Casper Sleep, the unprofitable, upstart mattress maker that was inexplicably valued like a tech company by venture capitalists.

  • Casper this morning set IPO terms that seemed to acknowledge how the private markets erred.
  • If it prices at the top of its range, the company would be valued at around $744 million, which is well shy of the unicorn valuation it previously received (no, the fully-diluted value doesn't get you there either).
  • But, but, but: The very fact it's launching its road-show, in the face of ongoing skepticism, suggests that the macro IPO chill has thawed. Or at least that bankers are willing to take the reputational risk.

The bottom line: No one company's failings, no matter how massive, can single-handedly derail the broader equity or capital markets. That's true whether it's WeWork, Boeing, or whatever misery comes next.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,929,312 — Total deaths: 357,781 — Total recoveries — 2,385,926Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,709,996 — Total deaths: 101,002 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Business: Louisiana senator says young people are key to reopening the economy —U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

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Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

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