Unicorn Exits Dip, Boutique Deals Jump

By on September 23, 2015

exitsbysizeThe number of “unicorn” exits have dropped, but smaller M&A deals below $100 million have grown in the first half of 2015. And the IPO window is narrowing.

In the first half of 2015, there were 385 VC-backed M&A exits valued at more than $23 billion, according to Pitchbook. That’s not quite on pace to top last year’s 865 deals valued at about $82 billion.

Looking more closely at the data, M&A exits valued at less than $100 million made up the majority of exits or about 65% of the total number of deals, which was up from about 60% in 2014. This squares with what Exitround has seen in the M&A market in terms of continued strong interest in exits below $100 million. Pitchbook attributes this, potentially, to corporate buyers reacting to the high prices of unicorns and opting to buy younger, cheaper companies instead.

In terms of overall capital, large exits greater than $500 million made up 58% of total capital exited in the first half of 2015, down from 63% in 2014.

Median M&A deal size was $45.8 million in the first half of 2015, down from $60 million last year–but still higher than $44.2 million in 2012 and $39.1 million in 2013.

As for “unicorns,” there were 32 billion-dollar venture investment rounds, but only eight exits valued at $1 billion or more. The number of venture rounds are now “vastly outpac[ing]” the number of unicorn exits, Pitchbook says. That compares to 59 billion dollar rounds and 22 billion dollar exits last year.

Meanwhile, IPOs have slowed down considerably. There were 42 IPOs in the first half of this year, down from 121 last year. Median IPO valuation was $218.8 million in the first half of 2015, down from $251.7 million last year.

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