BUSINESS
04/12/2012 11:53 am ET

IPO Boom Hits Speed Bump

A mini-boom in the IPO market seems to have hit a mini speed-bump.

The first quarter of this year was the busiest for initial public offerings since 2007, with 44 companies going public, Bloomberg reports. The vast majority of those companies enjoyed a stock-price gain after their market debut.

But just a couple of weeks into the new quarter, some recent IPOs are hitting the skids.

Bloomberg reports that the public offering from private equity firm Oaktree Capital Group Wednesday afternoon raised $380.2 million, 27 percent less than the firm was expecting to collect. Within a few minutes of its first day of trading Thursday, the firm's share value had dropped by 5.5 percent, according to a separate Bloomberg report.

Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, another private equity firm, The Carlyle Group, is keeping a wary eye on how Oaktree fares in these next few days. Bloomberg cites a person familiar with the matter as saying that Carlyle might ditch its own plans for an IPO -- which Carlyle had reportedly been thinking of launching as early as next week -- if Oaktree's performance continues to tank and if stock-market volatility continues.

Major U.S. stock indexes were up sharply for the second straight day on Thursday, but that followed a five-day losing streak, the worst since last summer, that drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 4 percent.

The jumpy stock market is making the IPO market difficult for more than just private equity firms. On Wednesday, California solar-power developer BrightSource Energy announced that it was withdrawing its own IPO in the face of poor market conditions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"The continued market and economic volatility are not optimal conditions for an IPO," BrightSource's president and chief executive, John Woolard, said in a statement according to the Journal.

Of course, the WSJ notes, solar energy has its own issues that could be making investors shy away. And a lasting rebound in the stock market could lead to a resumption of the IPO boom.

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