On any normal week, the trading debuts of Krispy Kreme or Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant, would be the biggest news in initial public offerings. But they were just two of 18 I.P.O.s that hit the markets this week, making it the busiest since December 2004.
It’s a sign of how the traditional way of going public has roared back after being briefly supplanted by the shell companies known as special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Overall, 213 I.P.O.s raised $70 billion in the first half of the year, which is above the full-year average for the past 10 years, according to Renaissance Capital. June was the busiest month for listings since August 2000.
“In addition to rising returns and a massive backlog of unicorns and others, companies are getting out ahead of the July 4 holiday,” said Matt Kennedy, a senior I.P.O. market strategist at Renaissance Capital, which manages I.P.O.-focused exchange traded funds.
Didi’s shares closed on Wednesday above their offer price, valuing the tech company at $69 billion. “It’s a successful I.P.O. coming out of the gates,” said Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities, but the company still has a lot to prove to investors worried about tension between the United States and China.
Clear Secure, the travel security company, also ended the day up in price. “We’re very positive on travel,” its chief executive, Caryn Seidman-Becker, said.
On Wednesday evening, the plus-size apparel retailer Torrid topped its expectations, raising $231 million in an offering. The retailer, backed by the private equity firm Sycamore Partners, saw sales dip slightly during the pandemic — to $973 million from a little over $1 billion — but used the setback as a chance to accelerate its e-commerce transformation, like investing in curbside pickup.
“We did use all that disruption to learn,” said the company’s chief executive, Liz Muñoz. “Our business that already been blown up into a million pieces — might as well get creative.”
But not all debuts this week fared equally well.
Krispy Kreme priced its offering well below expectations, raising $500 million, down from $640 million.
The company’s sales grew 17 percent to $1.1 billion its latest fiscal year, up from $959 million the year before. Losses, though, nearly doubled, to $60 million from $34 million as the company doubled down on attempts to buy out its franchisees. The company has pitched to investors growth from those efforts, alongside opportunity to expand further internationally.
“The big investment phase that we really did over the past five years is mostly behind us, — and we’re really now just going directly into how do we really drive this business forward,” said Michael Tatterfield, chief executive of Krispy Kreme.
JAB Holding, a European investment firm, acquired Krispy Kreme for roughly $1.35 billion in 2016, adding the doughnut seller to a portfolio of consumer brands that now includes the sandwich shop Panera and the coffee chain JDE Peets.