7 Hot IPOs for 2011

More than 150 companies had coming-out parties last year, including high-profile firms such as Jinko Solar (NYSE:JKS), Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) and of course, General Motors (NYSE:GM).  According to the website IPOScoop.com, the total return from the issue price of all 2010 initial public offerings was and outstanding 26.9%.  That kind of performance is what makes IPOs so attractive to investors, and it’s what has us all keeping our eyes on the new IPO prizes still to come.

So far in 2011, only a few IPOs have been slated to begin trading.  That’s liable to change very soon, especially if the bullish equity climate continues.  Now the question is which companies are likely to make the biggest IPO splash in the coming year:  Here are seven of hottest names likely to go public in 2011:

AMC Entertainment

The movie theater operator is a fixture on the American landscape, with 382 theaters and 5,342 total screens (as of July 1, 2010).  This company has enjoyed some very good years of late, and in its most recent fiscal year it saw revenue of approximately $2.7 billion.  In addition to the numerous movie theatres across the country, AMC also is blasting the competition in terms of average ticket price.  The company says its average ticket price is $8.39, which is well above the industry average of $7.64 per ticket.  Look for AMC’s premier screening on trading floors sometime this year.


Online backup giant Carbonite has been running aggressive radio advertising campaigns for years, and that’s helped them become one of the biggest names in the online file storage business.  The company’s also captured the imagination of the financial press, as Inc. magazine recently placed Carbonite ninth on its 2010 fastest-growing private companies list.  Carbonite has already generated a lot of interest from venture capitalists, as estimates have pegged the amount of capital raised at around $67 million.  The growth of Carbonite, and its increasingly high profile as one of the top online backup services in the world, also will no doubt attract a lot of retail investor interest in its presumed 2011 IPO. 


If GM can do it, well, then so can Chrysler.  That’s at least the theory behind the buzz of this auto industry stalwart’s IPO.  Although Chrysler has fallen on hard times in recent years, it’s still one of The Big Three U.S. automakers, and that puts Chrysler on just about everybody’s IPO watch list. Like GM, Chrysler received plenty of taxpayer bailout dollars.  Unlike GM, however, Chrysler took on a partner in Italian automaker Fiat.  The new operating entity has committed to turning Chrysler into a powerhouse again, and based on the recent positive buzz at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, it may able to do just that.  That could lead to another big U.S. automaker returning triumphantly to Wall Street’s trading floor.


This healthcare giant actually operates the largest private hospital system in the country.  As of Sept. 30, 2010, HCA operated 162 hospitals with a combined 41,000 beds and 104 freestanding surgery centers across 20 states.  In 2009, HCA generated revenues of over $30 billion while posting net income of over $1 billion.  The vast majority of HCA currently is owned by private equity firm Hercules Holding II.  Hercules is backed by elite private equity dealmakers Bain Capital and KKR, and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) also has a stake in HCA via its private equity division.  Now, HCA is no stranger to trading floors.  The company was publicly traded before being taken private in 2006.  However, if the public market zeitgeist remains healthy, look for HCA shares to be back in the public realm again sometime this year.

Nielsen Holdings

It’s a safe bet that nearly every U.S. television viewer is familiar with Nielsen. This company is the purveyor of the ubiquitous Nielsen ratings system, and for years it has claimed the top spot as the nation’s biggest audience tracking and measurement provider for most forms of media. The company was acquired in 2006 by a private equity group that included Blackstone (NYSE:BX), KKR, and Thomas H. Lee Partners.  Nielsen is the one company on this list nearest to its IPO, as the stock is slated to begin trading on Jan. 26 at a proposed offering price of $20 to $22 a share.  That means we’ll soon know if Nielsen is a big hit, or a big miss, with investors.


Internet phone provider Skype has garnered a big following in recent years, especially among telecommuters and businesses with offices around the globe.  After setting up shop in 2003, the company was quickly acquired by online giant eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).  Later, eBay sold most of its stake in Skype to private equity firms Silver Lake and some of the original Skype founders. Last August, Skype filed with the SEC to go public, saying the company was looking to raise some $100 million in the deal. As of August, the company had about 560 million registered users and about 124 million of them were active monthly users. More than 8 million of those users pay an average of $96 a year for the service. If the company can continue building on these stellar numbers, its IPO is likely to really connect with investors.

Toys “R” Us

Retailer Toys “R” Us has been flirting with a return to trading floors for a number of years, but up until now the retail and stock market environments haven’t been very conducive to this kind of specialty retailer.  This year, however, all that could change.  In May 2010, the company filed for an IPO that would raise some $800 million.  Heavyweight private equity firms Bain Capital, KKR, as well as Vornado Realty (NYSE:VNO) currently own Toys “R” Us, so this is likely the year they’ll get big returns on their investment.  Look for the retailer to be one of Wall Street’s hottest IPO toys in 2011.

At the time of publication, Jim Woods held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

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