Initial Public Offerings have been quiet since the pandemic. In fact, if anybody was keeping records, 2021 may have set an unofficial record as being the year in which more IPOs were canceled than any other year in history.
What this means, however, is that were will soon be a spike in IPO activity. There has to be: Early-stage investors all look to IPOs for their big payday. There’s even talk that when Stripe goes public, it could be valued as high as $1 trillion.
Until it does, however, DealRoom, a deal management software that helps companies prepare for the process of going public, sheds light on the current 11 largest IPOs of all time.
Why not check out: 11 Most Anticipated Upcoming IPOS in 2023
1. Saudi Aramco
Date: December 5th, 2019.
IPO Capital raise: $25.6 billion.
Current valuation (2023): $1.93 trillion.
The largest IPO of all time somewhat unsurprisingly goes to Saudi Arabian oil giant, Saudi Aramco. Rumours swirled that the Saudi royal family called in favors from several friends in high places to ensure that it was the biggest IPO of all time, and put Saudi Arabia on the map. Despite this, the stock has performed well since its IPO, showing an annual growth of close to 10%.
2. Alibaba Group
Date: September 19, 2014.
IPO Capital raise: $21.7 billion raise; $167.6 brillion valuation.
Current valuation (2023): $272.9 billion.
Alibaba can lay claim to being the most hyped IPO of all time, with one underwriter noting at the time that he had never seen anything like the frenzy around the stock’s first day of trading. That would go some way to explain why its stocked finished a full 38% above its initial listing price at the end of its first day. The stock has never performed as well as the hype predicted, however, possibly due to political turbulence faced by the company in China.
3. SoftBank Corp
Date: December 18, 2018.
IPO Capital raise: $21.3 billion, $63 billion valuation.
Current valuation (2023): $66.7 billion.
When SoftBank listed in 2018, it was the largest Japanese IPO of all time, which is quite something, when one considers the number of global tech companies and conglomerates emanating from that country. Its stock price recovered after a dramatic first-day fall, but subsequently suffered from scandals emerging from its headline investment, WeWork, and the tech downturn spurred by Coronavirus.
4. NTT Mobile
Date: September 25, 1998.
IPO Capital raise: $18.1 billion.
Current valuation (2023): $97 billion.
Before SoftBank, there was NTT Mobile. On its IPO in 1998, it was the largest that Japan had ever seen. Goldman Sachs maintains a stirring article that covers the event on its website, which made Japan’s third-largest company by market capitalization at the time. It was a huge milestone for the American investment bank, as Japanese companies have traditionally turned to Japanese investment banks for their IPOs.
Date: March 19, 2008.
IPO Capital raise: $17.86 billion.
Current valuation (2023): $464 billion.
Visa’s 2008 IPO is still the largest of any American corporation, and that’s not the only reason that it’s remarkable. At a time when the credit crunch was moving up a gear, Visa was asking investors to buy its stock. And they did so, finished the first day at $44, 28% ahead of the listing price, when all other stocks were getting battered. The irony wasn’t lost on anyone that the world’s biggest purveyor of consumer credit had prevailed during the world’s largest credit crunch.
Date: October 21, 2010.
IPO Capital raise: $17.78 billion. Valuation of $30.5 billion
Current valuation (2023): $127 billion.
AIA is the lesser known Asian assurance arm of American insurance giant, AIG. That didn’t stop it having Hong Kong’s largest ever IPO in 2010. The stocks rose 10% on the first day of trading, reflecting the fact that the IPO was 60% over-subscribed at the time of the listing. The stock has been one of the Hong Kong Stock Market’s best performers over the years, consistently achieving above market annual returns until a brief 35% drop during Coronavirus.
7. ENEL SpA
Date: November 2, 1999.
IPO Capital raise: $16.45 billion. Valuation of $55 billion.
Current valuation (2023): $59 billion.
Another record-breaker for this list. When ENEL went public in 1999, it was the largest IPO of all time at that time (and still the largest ever Italian IPO in 2023). However, perhaps because of the dot-com stocks that appeared to offer more attractive long-term returns going public at the time, it failed to generate the interest predicted. Nearly quarter of a century on, and the company still lingers at around the same market capitalization.
8. General Motors
Date: November 16, 2010.
IPO Capital raise: $16.45 billion.
Current valuation (2023): $60.1 billion.
These days, when people think of the expression, ‘too big to fail,’ the mind moves back to the Wall Street investment banks that were received government bailouts for tens of billions of dollars. Few remember that GM was also the beneficiary of one such bailout. But it made the US taxpayer their money back with a bumper IPO a couple of years later, amid massive investor demand. A decade and a half later, and the company continues to thrive.
Date: May 18, 2012.
IPO Capital raise: $16.01 billion. Valuation of $96 billion.
Current valuation (2023): $447 billion.
‘How does anybody value a company like Facebook?’ That was the question many investors were asking in 2012, when the long-awaited IPO finally occurred (try to name another company whose IPO occurred after there was a Hollywood movie made about the company). For a while, it seemed like Facebook was set to conquer all, even briefly floating the idea of a cryptocurrency. Although its stock price is well above its 2012 price, things are no longer so rosy at 1 Hacker Way.
10. ICBC Bank
Date: October 27, 2006.
IPO Capital raise: $15.77 billion. Valuation of $180 billion.
Current valuation (2023): $214 billion.
It is somewhat surprising that a financial giant only appears at number 10 on the world’s largest ever IPOs list. It is less surprising that the financial giant is Chinese. At the height of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the three largest banks in the world by market capitalization were Chinese. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) was the largest. Since its IPO, it has underperformed, partly because of over-exposure in markets which haven’t fared well.
11. Deutsche Telekom
Date: November 18, 1996.
IPO Capital raise: $13.96 billion. Valuation of $49.7 billion.
Current valuation (2023): $111 billion.
If the nearly $14 billion that Deutsche Telekom raised at its IPO in 1996 is still large in 2023, one can imagine the relative scale in 1996. At a time before the internet had gotten in its stride, and cell phones were still only held by a fraction of the population, this IPO was a one-way bet on both of those trends, which were about to take over the world. The IPO valued the company at slightly under $50 million, and it has performed steadily in the intervening period.