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Stock market expects Arm’s IPO to be a hit

Call it Wall Street’s Groundhog Day.

When? arm sharesThe British chip designer began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Thursday in the biggest initial public offering of the year, and investors, tech executives, bankers and start-up founders will be keeping a close eye on how it performs.

If Arm’s stock falls, they will know that the market for IPOs is likely to remain frozen for a long time. But the warm reception to the shares could inspire many more companies to go public in the coming months, ending the cold streak.

“Offerings like this are often signals to try to understand what the overall sentiment of this market is,” said David Hsu, a professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Arm is the biggest company to brave the public markets in 2023 It’s been an almost eerily quiet year for IPOs The chip designer, which is owned by SoftBank, its offered price at $51 a share on Wednesday, raising $4.87 billion and valuing the company at $54.5 billion.

The market for private company stocks has had its worst year for IPOs since 2009, according to an analysis by EquityZen. So far this year, 73 IPOs in the United States — including Arm — have raised $14.8 billion, according to Renaissance Capital, which tracks public offerings. This is a fraction of the listings during 2021, when 397 companies raised $142 billion.

Arm is a particularly interesting test of the public market because it offers an essential technology that is geopolitically and strategically coveted, which also means it faces challenges.

Founded in Cambridge, England in 1990, the company sells blueprints of a part of a chip known as a processor core. Its customers include many of the world’s biggest tech companies like Apple, Google, Samsung and NVIDIA,

Arm’s chip designs are primarily used in smartphones, but the company has touted itself as capable of riding the wave of artificial intelligence sweeping Silicon Valley. Many AI companies require the most advanced computer chips to perform the sophisticated calculations needed to develop the technology.

Arm has been the subject of considerable global interest Japan-based SoftBank Buying the company in 2016 for $32 billion. SoftBank, which needs a big win after years of deals couldn’t stand As per its promise, it is set to retain majority stake in Arm after the IPO.

In 2020, Nvidia made deal to buy Arm From SoftBank for $40 billion. but that the plan collapsed After 18 months of protests from regulators and customers.

Investors remain cautious with skepticism about other tech companies preparing to go public with low expectations. Next week, grocery delivery company Instacart and marketing technology company Klaviyo are also expected to begin trading on public markets.

Yet Instacart, which began its IPO pitch meetings this week by setting a price range that valued the company at $8.6 billion to $9.3 billion including all outstanding shares, is valued in the private market at a higher valuation than its $39 billion outright valuation. has been set quite low. , Clavio began its pitch meetings with a valuation range of $7.7 billion to $8.3 billion, slightly lower than its previous private valuation of $9.5 billion.

To build confidence in public offerings, many companies have tried to reassure Wall Street that they are desirable investments. Ahead of its offering, Arm said it had fielded $735 million of “perceived interest” in buying its shares from companies it works with, including Nvidia, Google, Samsung, Apple and Intel.

Instacart made a similar move and sold $175 million of its IPO shares to PepsiCo. Clavio also announced that it has secured investment firms BlackRock and AllianceBernstein as “cornerstone” investors ahead of its offering. Wharton’s Mr. Su said it is not common to trumpet such commitments ahead of an IPO at a time when the market is bearish.

Arm, Clavio and Instacart have also drawn attention to their profits. Rising interest rates and inflation have made investors more risk-averse, with many shifting their priorities to fast-growing companies rather than companies that can make money.

The profits stand in contrast to many of the cash-hungry companies that went public during 2021’s bullish period, which have since seen their stock prices decline. The valuation of scooter company Bird, once valued at $2.5 billion, has fallen to $11 million. we workThe office sharing company, which was valued at $40 billion in private markets, now trades at a market capitalization of about $270 million.

Don Clark Contributed to the reporting.

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