IPOs Off to Slow Start in Q1

While offerings lag, backlog of U.S. deals is sizable; Facebook could trigger rebound.

In a year heralding the landmark initial public offering of Facebook Inc., share sales got off to a slow start.

While more companies tapped equity markets in March, IPOs globally raised $16.2 billion in the first quarter, the least since 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That kept the backlog of deals in the U.S. near the highest in more than a decade, according to Renaissance Capital LLC.

Economic Prospects

In the U.S., consumer-review website Yelp Inc. already raised $123 million in its IPO this month and has almost doubled since its debut. Vantiv Inc., the payment processor partly owned by Fifth Third Bancorp, sold $575 million in stock this month. The shares have advanced 18 percent since they began trading March 22.

Asian Sales

Companies in Asia were also slow to return to the IPO market this quarter. While Asia accounted for 44 percent of the total funds raised worldwide in the period, Hong Kong IPO volume dropped to its lowest level in three years.

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