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Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The IPO window is no longer just open. It's been shattered, had its frame removed and is now a chasmal cavity for capital.

Bottom line: This should be the year's busiest week for new U.S. listings, with the boom being driven by factors like political uncertainty and increased M&A activity.

  • U.S. IPO pricings are up 35% over last year, per Renaissance Capital, while proceeds raised and filings are up 33% and 31%, respectively.
  • A dozen companies are set to price this week. And it's a diverse group, including pre-revenue biotechs, an LBO-backed retailer (BJ's Wholesale) and a hairy under-corn (Domo).
  • Ten priced last week (not including three SPACs), many after increasing their number of offered shares.
  • Six companies filed for IPOs last Friday, and Hong Kong this morning got official paper work for Meituan-Dianping, which could be valued at $60 billion.
  • Five of those new offerings were from biopharma companies. Nasdaq says that 30 biopharma issuers have raised $2.5 billion already this year (86% of all healthcare IPO proceeds), competed to 43 raising $4 billion all last year and 32 raising $1.9 billion in 2016.
  • 83% of this year's biopharma IPOs have priced at or above its proposed IPO range, with Nasdaq healthcare listings boss Jordan Saxe saying "crossover investors" are seeking exposure to several different new types of biopharma technology.

IPO insiders are unsure as to why this is happening now as opposed to, say, 12 months ago. After all, it's not like there's been a pullback of private capital alternatives for later-stage companies. But they do offer three drivers:

  1. Strong pricing and aftermarket activity so far in 2018. Renaissance's U.S. IPO index was basically even with the S&P 500 last June, but has easily outpaced it since this past March.
  2. Increased M&A activity, which prompts companies to at least file for IPOs. Or, put another way, chumming the water.
  3. Growing uncertainty about what the 2018 midterms may mean for markets, which is being exacerbated by concerns over trade wars and new restrictions on Chinese investments. There is usually a mini-boom this time of year (getting ahead of August vacations), but this one is more pronounced.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”