Late Stage Investments

For many years, most successful companies followed a relatively predictable capital-raising path. A lot has changed. The companies that tend to pursue IPOs in recent years are more mature, better capitalized, and often seek to pursue IPOs for different reasons than did their predecessors. In our updated Short Field Guide to IPOs, we detail the path to an IPO, discuss some of the important steps along the way and highlight some of the detours or forks in the road.

Download a copy of the guide.

Below, a continuation of our bibliography of thought-provoking articles on issues related to right-sizing regulation, staying private versus going public, and related topics:

The Decline in IPOs and the Private Equity Market

In their piece, “The Evolution of the Private Equity Market and the Decline in IPOs,” Michael Ewens and Joan Farre-Mensa discuss the decline in the number of initial public offerings in the United States in recent years and how it has impacted the ability of startups to finance.  The authors focus on venture-backed startups.  Interestingly, the paper notes that the percentage of M&A exits has remained fairly constant since the early 1990s.  Many commentators in the popular press have suggested that the number of M&A exits had increased, therefore negatively affecting the number of U.S. IPOs.  Prior to 1997, approximately 87% of startups with over 200 employees went public and of those with over $40 million in sales 67% undertook IPOs.  Since 2000, the fractions have declined to 29% and 30% respectively.  Private capital has filled the breach and as a result the decline in the number of IPOs has not negatively affected the ability of companies to raise capital.  In part, the authors attribute the change to a reduction in the costs associated with remaining a private company.  The authors also discuss changes in the private markets.  For example, the paper shows that VCs have changed how they deploy their capital, with a greater percentage of their investments being devoted to late-stage investments (as opposed to earlier stage companies).  Non-VC investors have provided a very significant percentage of financing in late-stage rounds.  These investors include private equity funds, corporations making minority investments, mutual funds and hedge funds and investment banks.

Up-C IPOs

A blog reader recently shared with us a paper titled “Private Benefits in Public Offerings:  Tax Receivable Agreements in IPOs,” written by Gladriel Shobe.  The paper considers some of the criticisms of up-C IPOs as a result of the tax receivable agreements put in place in these transactions.  For background on up-C IPOs, see our Practice Pointers.  The paper notes that in recent years, 5% of IPOs included use of tax receivable agreements (“TRAs”).  The author identifies three “generations” of TRAs.  The first generation from the early to mid-1990s involved companies that were taking additional steps in connection with their IPOs to create additional tax assets, or new basis.  The second generation TRAs appeared in 2007 with a Duff & Phelps IPO.  The paper identifies a third generation TRA that came about in 2010.  Finally, the paper notes some recent up-C IPOs that have not used TRAs.  After analyzing the various types of TRAs and the rationales for their use, the paper considers whether in the case of TRAs in up-C IPOs pre-IPO owners receive benefits that may not be properly valued or understood by IPO participants.

Dual-Class Structures

In his paper, “Sunrise, Sunset:  An Empirical and Theoretical Assessment of Dual-Class Stock Structures,” author Andrew Winden presents an analysis of initial and sunset dual-stock provisions based on over 100 companies, including pre-2000 and post-2000 structures excluding up-C IPOs.  The paper notes that among the sample set there are many different sunset provisions and provides very useful analysis of these.  The types of sunset provisions include passage of a specified period of time, dilution of high vote shares or controller ownership of such shares down to a low percentage of the aggregate number of outstanding shares, a reduction in the number of high vote shares or the number of high vote shares held by the controller as a percentage of the controller’s original ownership, death or incapacity of certain control persons or the departure of the founder, or conversion upon transfers of the high vote shares to persons that are not permitted holders.  Of course, a significant percentage of companies with dual-class structures, approximately 39% of those that went public after 2000, did not have sunset provisions.  The paper then offers an assessment of the utility of each of the particular approaches to implementing a sunset provision.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Morrison & Foerster LLP
250 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019

Breakfast & Registration:
8:30 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.

Keynote, Pitch, Panel:
8:50 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Closing Words & Networking:
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

OurCrowd and Morrison & Foerster Seminar

Join OurCrowd, Morrison & Foerster, and the startup community for a breakfast program discussing the U.S. IPO market, financing alternatives, and opportunities for Israeli startups.

Speakers:

  • Ben Colman
    CEO, Covertix
  • Michael Idelchik
    Vice President of Advanced Technology Programs, GE
  • Andy Kaye
    President, OurCrowd
  • Anna Pinedo
    Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Coby Sella
    CEO, Unispectral
  • Tomer Tzach
    CEO, CropX

Moderator:

  • Stephen Lacey
    U.S. Editor, International Financing Review

This is an in-person only session.

For more information, or to register, please click here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Morrison & Foerster LLP
250 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019

Lunch and Registration:
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Keynote and Pitch:
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Closing Words and Dessert:
1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

OurCrowd and Morrison & Foerster Seminar

It’s no secret that Israel has been leading the world of innovation. VCs and financial backers from every industry flock to Israel, the Startup Nation, which has the highest number of startups per capita in the world, and ranks fourth in NASDAQ listings, just behind the U.S., China, and Canada.

Join OurCrowd, Morrison & Foerster, and the startup community for a lunch program discussing financing alternatives and opportunities for Israeli startups.

Speakers:

  • Jon Medved
    Founder & CEO, OurCrowd
  • Omer Keilaf
    CEO & Co-Founder, Innoviz
  • James Tanenbaum
    Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP

This is an in-person only session.

For more information, or to register, please click here.

Since 2004, the number of companies valued at over $1 billion, known as unicorns, has grown exponentially.  Pitchbook’s recently published Unicorn Report notes that unicorns currently make up one-fifth of 2017’s total deal value. There are currently 176 U.S.-based companies that are classified as unicorns.  While the number of unicorns has increased, the number of financings and average deal size has declined.  In 2017, to date, there have been 43 financings for U.S.-based unicorns, raising $10 billion.  Last year, unicorns raised $18.2 billion in 68 deals and 2015 saw 118 deals raising $20.4 billion.

There are 17 companies that achieved unicorn status in the U.S. during 2017, to date.  On average, it took 6.7 years for these companies to reach unicorn status since their founding.  Looking at all U.S. unicorns, the companies have an average age of 8.8 years.

As more companies are electing to remain private for a number of reasons, including the costs associated with going public and remaining a public company, unicorn exits are scarce.  In 2017, to date, there have been eight exits by unicorns valued at $8.7 billion.  In 2016, there were 10 exits valued at $15.6 billion.  This year, two unicorns were acquired and five went public.

Access Pitchbook’s Unicorn Report here: https://pitchbook.com/news/reports/2017-unicorn-report.

MoFo is rolling out the classics—MoFo Classics Series, that is. These two CLE sessions will focus on developments in the private placement market. Mark your calendar for these in-person only sessions, held at our New York office from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Private Placement Market Developments – Thursday, September 14, 2017
Morrison & Foerster LLP
250 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019

During this session, we will discuss developments affecting private placements, including:

  • Increased reliance on Section 4(a)(2) instead of the Rule 506 safe harbor;
  • Addressing no registration opinions;
  • Bad actor diligence for issuers and placement agents;
  • Diligence and the use of “big boy” letters;
  • FINRA Rule 5123 updates;
  • FINRA and SEC enforcement developments affecting private placements; and
  • Nasdaq’s 20% rule.

Late Stage Private Placements – Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Morrison & Foerster LLP
250 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019

Successful privately held companies considering their liquidity opportunities or eyeing an IPO often turn to late stage private placements. Late stage private placements with institutional investors, cross-over investors and strategic investors raise a number of considerations distinct from those arising in earlier stage and venture financing transactions. During this session, we will discuss:

  • Timing and process for late stage private placements;
  • Terms of late stage private placements;
  • Principal concerns for cross-over funds;
  • Diligence, projections and information sharing;
  • IPO and acquisition ratchets;
  • Governance issues;
  • The placement agent’s role; and
  • Planning for a sale or an IPO.

NY and CA CLE credit is pending for both sessions.

To register, please click here.

Global fintech venture capital-backed financings are on course to hit record highs, according to a recent research briefing by CB Insights. For the first half of 2017, there have been 496 VC-backed financings that raised over $8.0 billion for fintech companies around the world. U.S. fintech issuers represented almost 40% of the total number of fintech financings in the first half of the year with 198 deals raising $3.1 billion.

Financings for blockchain and bitcoin companies globally in the first half of 2017 raised $343 million over 36 deals. Wealth tech company financings, which include robo-advisors and mobile investing platforms, raised $661 million across 33 financings. Financings for insurance tech companies accounted for over 15% of financings by number of deals, raising $826 million over 76 deals.

There are now 26 fintech unicorns, companies with a valuation of over $1 billion, which include 15 U.S.-based fintech companies. This follows an ongoing trend of privately held companies choosing to remain private longer. Late-stage investments have been ever more present with companies going through multiple rounds of financings due to increased access to capital. Both global and U.S. late-stage investments in fintech companies hit five-quarter highs, with a median deal size of $34 million and $38.5 million, respectively.

To see CB Insight’s full report, click here.

May 22 – 23, 2017

PLI New York Center
1177 Avenue of the Americas
(2nd Floor)
New York, NY 10036

PLI’s Private Placements and Hybrid Securities Offerings 2017 conference is designed for corporate and securities attorneys, compliance professionals, control room personnel, bankers and allied professionals who deal with private placements and other exempt and hybrid offerings. The faculty will address the changes to private and exempt offerings brought about by the JOBS Act, including matchmaking platforms, “accredited investor” crowdfunding, offerings using general solicitation, Rule 144A offerings, and the practical implications of these changes for issuers, broker-dealers and investment advisers. In addition, the faculty will address the basics of private placements, sales of restricted securities, Rule 144 and Section 4(a)(1-1/2) transactions and block trades. The panelists will discuss the considerations that have led many companies to remain private longer and defer IPOs, while creating liquidity opportunities for holders through private secondary trading markets. Panelists will address the basics of traditional private placements, PIPE transactions, and Rule 144A transactions, as well as recent developments affecting each of these capital raising alternatives.

Partner Anna Pinedo will serve as chairperson for this event and will speak on the “Welcome and Introduction to Private Placements and Hybrid Financings” panel on Day One of the conference and on the “Welcome and Introduction to Conducting Hybrid Offerings” panel on Day Two. Senior Of Counsel Marty Dunn will speak on the “Overview of 4(a)(2) and Regulation D” panel on Day One.

To register for this conference, or for more information, please click here.

The fast growing fintech industry continues to command the attention of investors across the globe.  A recent CB Insights report summarized the global financing trends for fintech companies in 2016.  There were 836 venture capital-backed financings, which raised $12.7 billion for fintech startups in 2016.  While this was a $2 billion drop from 2015 figures, it is a significant increase from 2012’s 451 deals, which raised $2.5 billion.  U.S. fintech issuers represented over half of the total number of fintech financings with 422 deals, raising $5.5 billion.

Within the fintech space, funding for blockchain and bitcoin companies accounted for 8% of total deals in 2016, raising $431 million. Companies in the payments tech field, which provide solutions to facilitate payment processing, raised $1.6 billion in 2016 across 150 financings.  Insurance tech companies also warrant mention with 109 deals, raising $1.6 billion in 2016.

As privately held companies opt to remain private longer and defer going public, there has been an emergence of “unicorns,” or companies that have a valuation of over $1 billion. CB Insights reports that there are now 190 unicorns with a cumulative valuation of $660 billion.  There are 22 fintech unicorns, including 11 U.S.-based fintech unicorns.  With increased access to capital, more privately held companies go through numerous rounds of financings, referred to as late-stage financings.  Fintech companies ended 2016 with a median late-stage deal size of $26.5 million, accounting for 29% of their total deal share.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

After the 2016 decline in the number of U.S. initial public offerings (IPOs), commentators questioned whether the trend toward companies deferring initial public offerings and remaining private longer would be a new norm.  Already this year’s IPO market appears to be rebounding.  During the session, the presenters will discuss:

  • Whether cross-over (or late stage) private rounds still remain an important milestone on the road to the IPO;
  • U.S. IPO activity (sectors, VC- and PE-backed companies, foreign private issuer activity, syndicate structures);
  • Disclosure and governance trends among IPO issuers;
  • Dual track processes and the legal and business considerations;
  • Multiple share classes; and
  • Other developments.

Speakers:

CLE credit is pending for California and New York.

For more information, or to register, please click here.