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Dow Jones: 20 Companies Raised $1.4B In Q1 2012 IPOs; M&A Deals Decline

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It looks like IPOs were up significantly in the first quarter of this year, while M&A dipped for venture-backed companies. Dow Jones VentureSource is releasing a new report this morning indicating that Q1 2012 was the most active quarter for IPOs since the fourth quarter of 2007 and the most active first quarter since 2000. Twenty companies went public in the first quarter, including Yelp, Millennial Media, Brightcove and others. Ninety-four companies were acquired during the same period, which marks the second-straight quarter of declining deal volume for M&A according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

Twenty companies raised $1.4 billion through public offerings in the first quarter, which is up from the 11 IPOs that raised $768 million during the first quarter of last year. Currently, 50 U.S. venture-backed companies are in IPO registration. Thirteen of those companies filed during the first quarter.

“Big exits by Groupon and Zynga dominated the end of 2011, but small- and mid-cap IPOs have taken center stage so far this year,” said Zoran Basich, editor of Dow Jones VentureWire. “The public markets proved receptive to a broad range of companies, which is a positive sign for the industry.”.

It took companies a median of $68 million and 7.7 years to reach an IPO, which is a 22% drop in capital raised but an increase in time from 6.2 years during the same period a year ago.

Dow Jones says that 94 mergers, acquisitions and buyouts raised $18.1 billion in the first quarter, which is a 32% decrease in deals and 42% increase in capital raised from the same period last year. The median price paid for a company spiked to $190 million from $43 million in the first quarter of last year.

Major deals included Zynga-OMGPOP, Adobe-Efficient Frontier and Cisco Systems-Lightwire.

Google, which was the most active acquirer of venture-backed companies in 2011 with 12 acquisitions, did not buy any companies in the first quarter of 2012. Groupon has been on a buying spree, acquiring six venture companies in the first quarter, which is double the three acquisitions the company made throughout 2011.

To reach an M&A or buyout, companies raised a median of $13 million in venture financing, 13% less than in the first quarter of 2011, and took a median of 4.9 years to build their company, slightly more time than the 4.6-year median a year earlier.

Disclosure: My husband is an employee of Groupon.