Has this year’s IPO party been canceled?



Biotech Boston IPO IT

How quickly things change. A few weeks ago the forecast was all sunshine for initial public offerings, particularly in the tech arena, and very much so in Massachusetts. (Well, mostly sunshine: Globoforce execs would tell you differently.)

Then came Thursday. It was supposed to cap off the biggest week for IPOs in years, but only three of the day’s seven expected IPOs actually reached completion, as the Nasdaq fell 3.1 percent. Among the IPOs-that-weren’t-to-be on Thursday were cloud firm Paycom Software and a Burlington-based biotech firm, Aldeyra Therapeutics.

Earlier this week another local biotech, Cambridge-based Cerulean Pharma, did complete its planned IPO, but at a much lower share price than it initially sought.

The selloff in tech and biotech, and the resulting IPO slowdown, is being attributed to concerns that companies in those industries are overvalued, according to the Wall Street Journal (The story is behind a paywall).

For Massachusetts, some companies that have already gone public this year have not fared well in the stock market: Care.com, for one, was trading at about $12 mid-day today, down from its January IPO price of $17 and high of $29.25.

The Nasdaq closed down 1.3 percent today. On Yahoo Finance’s The Exchange blog, Aaron Pressman wrote that “if the market continues to drop, especially for technology and Internet companies, there’s little chance [upcoming] deals will price. But if things recover quickly, the IPO window could open right back up.”

Still, it’s likely troubling news for IPO aspirants such as Lexington’s Imprivata that the much-anticipated bonanza in initial offerings this year has stumbled just as it was getting started.

Read more: Boston’s next 12 tech IPOs?

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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