PIPES Raise More Money but Deals Down
The quarter saw raises amounting to $20.8 billion versus $20.47 billion in the previous quarter.
The number of transactions fell slightly to 326 from 341 over the same period, according to PrivateRaise, The Deal’s private placement data service.
Clearly, political uncertainty from the government shutdown did not help the market.
One consequence of that uncertainty is an increase in the dollar amount generated by at-the-market transactions, which increased to $11.13 billion in the recent quarter from $8.9 billion in the previous quarter.
ATMs give companies an option to issue equity for a variety of purposes, including unexpected ones.
This uncertainty hit at both the individual and institutional levels.
As fears over the consequences of the shutdown grew at the beginning of the year, the Volatility Index (VIX) hit $25.45 at the beginning of the year, about twice what it was at the beginning of the previous year. Now it’s back down in the $13 neighborhood.
Volatility is the nemesis of deal negotiation, especially for smaller issuers that are posting losses and face a long product development runway. The PIPEs market was actually quite resilient at the beginning of the year, given the volatility situation.
The uncertainty also affected individuals in government. While this does not directly affect hedge fund and corporate investors, it cut off a source of capital that could have gone into investments of one sort or another.
“Borrowing from retirement was one of the most common methods used to bridge the gap in pay. There was a 34% jump in the number of hardship withdrawals in the two and 1/2 weeks after Christmas when compared to the same period last year,” according to Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board data.
Healthcare, as usual, dominated the dealflow with more than 170 deals that accounted for 52% of the total. Technology made up 12% of the total, and none of the other sectors made up more than 10%.
In terms of dollars raised, real estate appeared to come out on top with almost $8 billion, or about 38% of the total. However, most of this figure stems from ATMs, and it remains unclear whether they will actually be used.
Healthcare PIPEs raised some $6.8 billion.
Across the board, the average deal size was $63 million. The median size was $10 million, reflecting a preponderance of typically small PIPEs, starting at the PrivateRaise minimum of $1 million.
Some 30% of the PIPEs raised $30 million or less. About 50 of these offerings raised $3 million or less.
About half the deals were traditional unregistered PIPEs. Around 100 PIPEs were registered directs, including some 50 confidentially marketed public offerings.
Coupons and dividends on convertible securities hit a high of 25%. Usury laws vary by state, but they tend to limit rates around 25%. Still, investors can squeeze more out of an issuer with an original-issue-discount.
Cannabis compliance company Helix Tcs. Inc. raised $1.95 million in a one-year secured convertible promissory note and warrant deal featuring a 25% coupon on the notes.
Most of the deals involved common stock, though the quarter saw about 40 convertible and non-convertible debt offerings. The conversion discount on the notes was 30%.
There was a wide span of premiums and discounts ranging from a premium of 303% to a discount of over 80%.
The range of companies was quite wide as usual.
The largest PIPE was issued by cannabis specialist Cronos Group Inc. (CRON), which raised $1.83 billion to fund new developments. The investor was Altria Group, which owns several well-known tobacco products, including Marlboro and Copenhagen, as well as wine businesses.
REIT Welltower Inc. (WELL) raised $1.5 billion as part of its efforts to build healthcare infrastructure. Over 60% of its properties are senior healthcare facilities.
Aqua America Inc. (WTR), a water treatment specialist, raised $750 million as part of a plan to purchase another utility, likely creating a company with an enterprise value of more than $4 billion.
At the other end of the scale, companies like biotechs Co-Diagnostics Inc., Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc., AzurRx BioPharma Inc. and autonomous driving technology developer Foresight Autonomous Holdings Ltd. raised as little as $1 million.
Other issuers in the $1 million range include China-based mobile business app maker Moxian Inc., cancer treatment developer Xenetic Biosciences Inc. and wireless specialist ParkerVision Inc.
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