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Nasdaq Claims More IPOs Post-Facebook, Though Sample Is Small

By Lynn Cowan Nasdaq's technical glitches during Facebook Inc.'s (FB) IPO may still be fresh in some investors' minds, but companies listing new stocks haven't been scared away: The exchange has drawn more initial public offerings than its chief rival, the New York Stock Exchange, since the social network's botched debut. In the months since Facebook's May 18 listing, 13 initial public offerings have listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market out of 21 stocks that have launched in the U.S., according to Ipreo, a market-intelligence firm. That's a break with IPO listing trends. In recent years, the NYSE has commanded a larger share of new company launches than the Nasdaq. Of the 21 IPOs that priced before Facebook in April and May, the ratio was flipped, as 13 went to the NYSE. For the full year of 2011, the NYSE grabbed 56% out of 126 total deals, and in 2010 it took 55% out of 154 total, according to Ipreo. Almost all the Nasdaq IPOs in the post-Facebook group had already decided where they would list before the social network's offering, so it isn't as if companies started flocking to Nasdaq in the wake of Facebook's underwhelming debut, which was marred not only by trading glitches at Nasdaq, but by trading declines after its first day. However, they aren't staying away from Nasdaq in droves either, if the months of June through August are any indication. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two exchanges have different views on the effect Facebook will have on issuers' listing picks. "What happened during Facebook's offering is factoring into their choice of exchanges today," said David Ethridge, senior vice president and head of the capital-markets group at NYSE Euronext (NYX), which operates the NYSE. "It's certainly going to be a consideration for every management team for some period of time." Nasdaq executives said they have spent considerable time explaining the events that took place during Facebook's debut to potential listees and feel that companies eyeing future IPOs are able to put that behind them and look at the advantages of listing on Nasdaq. "I would argue that the pipeline of deals waiting to price says we will still take the lead in IPOs throughout the end of the year," said Bob McCooey, senior vice president in Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.'s (NDAQ) Corporate Client Group. But in the long run, the recent IPO shift toward Nasdaq post-Facebook may be a statistical anomaly, given the small number of deals analyzed. According to Ipreo's data of companies that are planning IPOs in the months ahead, a different pattern emerges, more in line with NYSE's dominance in recent years. Of the 59 companies currently in the backlog, 51% are headed to the NYSE, 35.5% have chosen Nasdaq, and 13.5% remain undecided, says the data provider. In addition to IPOs, the exchanges continue to compete over snatching listings. So far this year, the New York Stock Exchange has lured away nine companies from the Nasdaq. The Nasdaq, in turn, says it has wooed five companies from the New York Stock Exchange, including Kraft Foods Inc.'s (KFT) changeover in June, which marked the first time a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average changed listing venues. The NYSE disputes Nasdaq's tally, saying only four deals, including Kraft, should be counted. The pressure for listing claims has only increased since Nasdaq won Facebook, followed by the trading glitch, said James Angel, a visiting associate professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. "They have been engaged in a serious dogfight for every listing long before Facebook," said Mr. Angel. "These exchanges are not going to be shy about finding every defect in their competition." On a proceeds-raised basis, the NYSE has also topped Nasdaq in recent years, but that has changed in 2012, with Facebook's $16 billion offering, putting Nasdaq ahead of the NYSE. So far in 2012, the Nasdaq has hosted $20.1 billion worth of IPOs to the NYSE's $11.6 billion. In 2011, the NYSE tallied $30.7 billion compared with Nasdaq's $9.9 billion, according to Ipreo. Write to Lynn Cowan at lynn.cowan@dowjones.com

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