The Rise and Fall of Europe's New Stock Markets: Volume 10


Table of contents

(15 chapters)

With the opening of the Nouveau Marché in France in 1996, followed by the Neuer Markt in Germany in 1997 and the Nuovo Mercato in Italy in 1999, the opportunities for small companies to obtain a listing on European exchanges were growing rapidly. Other European countries with new stock markets included Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. These stock markets had one common aim – to attract early stage, innovative and high-growth firms that would not have been viable candidates for public equity financing on the main markets of European stock exchanges. Of these new markets, the Neuer Markt emerged as Europe’s answer to NASDAQ.

In this chapter we describe the development of venture capital and new stock markets in Europe. We argue that markets for high-growth stocks offer venture capitalists a valuable exit opportunity for their investments. This allows them to re-invest their money in other start-up companies and may spur the rate of new business creation and technological innovation. The private equity market in Europe today is as large as it was just before the advent of new stock markets in 1997–1999. As such, the need for stock markets that allow private equity investors to divest their equity stakes in growth companies did not disappear.

In this chapter we investigate whether the pricing of IPOs on Europe’s new stock market differs from that of IPOs on main market segments. We report a 22.3 percentage point difference in the average first-day return of new market IPOs (34.3%) and the average first-day return of main market IPOs (12%). We show that reduced incentives to control wealth losses and different firm and offer characteristics partially explain the higher average first-day return on new market segments. We also find that the bundling of IPO deals has been more important to control underpricing costs on new market than on main market segments.

This chapter analyses how capital is raised and employed by a sample of 28 European biotechnology companies listed on Europe’s new stock markets from 1996 to 2000. We find that biotechnology companies rely heavily on IPO proceeds in order to finance their growth. We compare the behaviour of European firms to a sample of comparable U.S. firms. The analysis reveals that European companies tend to raise more capital at the IPO and to invest more aggressively in the short-run, whereas U.S. biotech firms tend to have more cash available before the IPO and invest more conservatively in the short-run.

This chapter examines the determinants of managerial incentives at the time of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. We identify a trade-off relation between board monitoring and incentives that is specific to CEOs. We also investigate the role of stock option grants and share transactions at the IPO. We find that the IPO may be used as a wealth diversification opportunity. We report that undiversified managers with large pre-IPO shareholdings receive smaller stock options grants and sell more shares in the IPO than more diversified managers.

In this chapter we study the peer comparable approach used for the valuation of companies that went public on the Italian Nuovo Mercato. In Italy, IPO prospectuses often report the valuation methods used by investment banks. This allows us to analyze the accuracy of “real-world” valuation estimates. We show that underwriters rely on price-to-book and price-earnings multiples. The valuation estimates generated by these multiples are closest to offer prices. Conversely, when using enterprise value ratios comparable firms’ multiples are typically higher than those of the firms going public. We argue that underwriters have the possibility to select comparables that make their valuations look conservative.

This chapter investigates the relevance of accounting and other information to valuing Internet IPOs during the years 1998–2000 in Europe and the United States. We show that market value is negatively related to net income in the Internet bubble period before April 1, 2000 in both European and U.S. IPO markets. This is consistent with an Internet firm’s start-up expenditures being considered as assets, not as costs. Furthermore, for the U.S. IPO market, we find that free float is value relevant during the Internet bubble. Underwriters and issuers restricted the supply of shares at the IPO. This drove up market prices as investors were keen to buy Internet IPO shares.

This study looks at the value-relevance of accounting data and measures of web-traffic for Internet firms listed on the Neuer Markt. We show that earnings and cash flows cannot explain the valuation of Internet companies, while we report a positive association between total sales and market capitalisation. In addition, sales and marketing as well as research and development expenses are relevant value-drivers. Furthermore, we find a positive relation between market values and a number of web-metrics such as customer loyalty, reach, page impressions, and unique visitors. We conclude that during the Internet bubble, measures of web-traffic provided at least as much explanatory power for market values as financial statement information.

This chapter explores the stock price impact of expirations of lock-up provisions that prevent insiders from selling their shares after the Initial Public Offering (IPO). We examine 172 lock-up expirations of 142 IPOs floated on Germany’s Neuer Markt. We detect significant negative abnormal returns and a 25% increase in trading volume surrounding lock-up expiration. The negative abnormal returns are larger for firms with high volatility; superior performance after the IPO, low free float, and venture capital financed firms. The negative price reaction is significantly stronger for the expiration of voluntary lock-up agreements than for mandatory prohibitions of disposal.

This chapter investigates whether non venture-backed, venture-backed and bridge financed companies going public on Germany’s Neuer Markt differ with regard to issuer characteristics, balance sheet data or offering characteristics. Moreover, this chapter contributes to the underpricing literature by focusing on the role of venture capitalists and underwriters in certifying the quality of a company. Companies backed by a prestigious venture capitalist and/or underwritten by a top bank are expected to show less underpricing at the Initial Public Offering (IPO) due to reduced ex-ante uncertainty. This analysis provides evidence to the contrary: VC-backed IPOs appear to be more underpriced than non VC-backed IPOs.

This chapter investigates the impact of venture capitalists on the operating and market performance of firms going public on the French Nouveau Marché, the German Neuer Markt and the British techMARK. Considering different variables that reflect the quality of venture-backing, the findings suggest that venture-backed firms do not generally outperform those without venture-backing. However, a subgroup of internationally operating venture capitalists has positive effects on the performance of portfolio firms. The outcome is interpreted as evidence of heterogeneity among venture capitalists in the European market.

In this chapter, we describe the rise and fall of Germany’s Neuer Markt from its promising start to its ultimate failure. We show that the Neuer Markt was designed to serve the special needs of small and medium sized growth firms. However, some regulatory flaws, insufficient means to enforce the rules, the IPO frenzy and the bursting of the stock market bubble destroyed its reputation beyond recovery. The closing of the Neuer Markt and the rebranding and restructuring of the entire Frankfurt stock market indicate the seriousness of the crisis of German public equity markets.

In this chapter we examine the determinants of the long-run stock price performance of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) on Europe’s new stock markets. We report that the average company that went public on these markets has been a very poor long-term investment. We find that the stock price performance during a three-year window is inversely related to first-day returns. We also find that the long-term underperformance of IPO firms begins after the lock-up agreement has expired and insiders start trading in the firm’s shares. These findings are consistent with the divergence of opinion hypothesis of Miller (1977).

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Advances in Financial Economics
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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