The podium above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange was crowded Friday by executives from ClubCorp, the owner-operator of more than 150 private golf country clubs as well as other business, sports and alumni facilities.
The company was celebrating its initial public offering of stock, which was priced at $14 a share and then traded slightly higher in its first day of trading.
The IPO was of interest to many people in San Diego County. ClubCorp (NYSE: MYCC) owns the University Club Atop Symphony Towers and the Morgan Run Club & Resort in Rancho Santa Fe.
While the IPO was received tepidly by investors, the real fireworks were provided by a couple of other companies that hit the street with a bang, the latest indication of a great year for public offerings. Two Northern California tech-related companies nearly doubled in their first day of trading. Rocket Fuel (Nasdaq: FUEL), an online advertising company, was priced at $29 and jumped to $56. And FireEye (Nasdaq: FEYE), an Internet security company, came to the market at $20 and rose immediately to $38.
So far in 2013, there have been 141 public offerings compared with 96 at the same time in 2012. A large number of the IPOs have come out of the life sciences industry -- including companies headquartered in San Diego.
“For a long time, general investors were (hesitant) to invest in the biotech sector because of uncertainties overhanging the industry. Now, driven by the strong performance of the sector as a result of clinical and market successes, investors are embracing biotech or risk underperforming the market,” said G. Steven Burrill, who heads Burrill & Co., a financial services company focused on life sciences.
The performance of several local companies that launched offerings in May support Burrill’s opinion.
Ambit Biosciences (Nasdaq: AMBI), a company involved in the discovery and development of drugs targeting cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, went public at $8 per share and traded as high as $17 before settling into its current trading range of about $14.
“The second quarter was transformative for Ambit. We successfully completed our initial public offering, which put us on solid financial footing to continue the clinical development of our leading drug candidate,” CEO Michael Martino said.
Also launching its IPO in May was Receptos (Nasdaq: RCPT), a San Diego biopharmaceutical company developing candidates for the treatment of autoimmune and metabolic diseases. The offering was priced at $14 a share and the shares are trading near $23.
“As a result of our successful IPO in the second quarter, we are now well-capitalized to drive these programs forward as we make progress with our pipeline products,” CEO Faheem Hasnain said.
A couple of other IPOs are expected to hit the street in the next few weeks.
The investment community will be watching carefully to see whether Twitter, the social media company, can pull off an offering without the chaos that plagued Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) when it went public in May 2012.
The company aims to raise more than $1 billion in the deal that is expected before Thanksgiving.
And, after years of on-and-off deals, Empire State Realty Trust is scheduled to move forward with its IPO within the next two weeks. In addition to the landmark property in New York built in 1931 and soaring 102 stories high, the REIT also owns 18 other prime properties.
These and other deals have restored a level of confidence closely linked to the overall performance of the stock market in 2013.