Another Dry Quarter For Venture Exits

The first quarter is now officially over, and it was another dry one for venture-backed exits. Once again, there were zero venture-backed IPOs and only 56 M&A transactions, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Those numbers are down from five IPOs and 106 M&A exits in the first quarter of 2008. Six venture-backed IPOs were withdrawn from registration during the quarter.

The disclosed value of those M&A deals in the first quarter of 2009 was $645 million, down from $4.5 billion a year ago. That amount is also down from the $2.4 billion in M&A deals in the fourth quarter of 2008, when there were 61 deals. The average deal size has dropped dramatically from $140 million in the fourth quarter (and an average of $115 million all last year) to $50 million in this past quarter. You can see the data in various charts below and on this page.

It is not pretty out there. As long as the exit window remains shut, venture firms will remain cautious with their money.

Of all the deals, nearly half (24) were in computer software and services, 9 were Internet startups, and 11 were life sciences. The largest acquisition in the quarter was in fact a medical device company, Ablation Frontiers, which was bought by Medtronic for $225 million.