2020 has been a historic year for IPO activity — we have seen the highest level of IPO capital raising activity since 2007, with USD 331 billion raised across 1,591 listings. As COVID-19 hit the markets, IPO activity was dampened during the first half of 2020, with companies entering resilience mode and focusing on weathering the storm, both financially and operationally.

Q3 saw a monumental rebound of the markets, with over 40% of the total capital raised in 2020 generated in Q3 alone. This indicates a return in market and investor confidence and a backlog of IPO-ready companies finally launching their listings on the back of market liquidity.

What defined 2020?

  • Record-breaking VC investment. The level of VC investment across all markets, and particularly in the technology and healthcare industries, was record-breaking.
  • Rise in Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) activity. SPAC activity has been astronomical this year, nurtured in part by high levels of dry powder.
  • Continued Sino-US tensions and the movement of the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (HFCAA) through both the Senate and House of Representatives. This has led to a number of jurisdictions, Hong Kong and London in particular, planning and introducing regulatory changes on stock exchanges in an effort to lure Chinese listings from New York.
  • Increase in secondaries. Financial sponsors became much more active in this space, with an increased willingness to invest in listed companies. In particular, London saw a sharp increase of 60% in secondary offerings as compared with 2019.

What will shape the IPO market in 2021?

As businesses set their sights on the year ahead, we've integrated hard data with expert insights from our capital markets professionals to help you navigate the legal and regulatory opportunities, challenges and changes expected in 2021.

In this report, you'll find key insights including:

  • Drivers of the growth in global IPO activity in 2020.
  • The rise of PE and VC investment and what we can expect from financial sponsor-backed exits.
  • Industry frontrunners and the rise of alternate routes to listing.
  • How geopolitical, regional and stock exchange trends are set to shape 2021.
  • The increasing importance of ESG to corporates, boards, banks and investors.
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