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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

1997 Sees Fewer Firms Go Public

NEW YORK -- Initial public offerings started slowly but finished the first half of the year with a roar. Still, despite the strong final showing, new issues paled compared with last year's record run.

IPOs raised 30 percent less in the first half of 1997 than last year, raking in $16.2 billion compared with $27 billion last year, according to Securities Data, a New Jersey firm that tracks corporate financings.

After a slow first quarter, IPO issuance came to a virtual standstill in April but perked back up in May, mostly due to some very large offerings, and jumped even higher in June.

"After [Federal Reserve Chairman Alan] Greenspan made his irrational exuberance comments, fears about interest rates held new issues hostage for the next three months," said David Menlow, president of IPO Financial Network of Springfield, New Jersey.

However, as inflation failed to make an appearance, IPOs began showing signs of life. Then came Rambus Inc., which soared 136.5 percent at its market debut. The company makes an interface technology for semiconductor chips.

June's heavy volume was pushed even higher by several large-cap deals, such as Santa Fe International Corp., Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and Boston Properties Inc., with the three deals raising just over $2 billion together.