Stock underwriters that specialize in arranging new issues for smaller technology companies in the United States saw the revenue pendulum swing away from them in the second quarter, as Wall Street cooled on the Internet craze.
FleetBoston Financial Corp. is perhaps the starkest example. After riding high on the tech-driven bull market in the first quarter and last year, Fleet's San Francisco-based investment banking arm, Robertson Stephens & Co., lead just two issues in the second quarter, with total proceeds of $122 million. It had less than a 1% market share.
That was a far cry from the first quarter, when FleetBoston was seventh in the quarterly rankings of U.S. underwriters, with a 4.3% market share, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data. Fleet led 15 IPOs in that quarter, with total proceeds of $1 billion.
Robertson Stephens has a client base of companies in the technology, life sciences, health-care, and consumer sectors, the very sectors that were hardest hit in the Nasdaq market rout this spring. The firm's two IPOs in the second quarter were Opus360 Corp., a business-to-business e-commerce company, which raised $77 million; and HealthStream Inc., which provides Web-based education materials for the health-care industry, which raised $45 million.
Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney, in contrast, lead six issues in the second quarter, with total proceeds of $3.7 billion, and claimed a 15.7% market share. That was enough to lift it to third place from fifth place in the first quarter. Analysts said companies like Salomon benefited from a more diverse client base that includes more established companies.
"The winners in the quarter were people that had more broad-based underwriting franchises, people not just focused on Internet companies, but broader technology franchises such as infrastructure companies," said Lori Appelbaum, an equity analyst at Goldman Sachs & Co.
Salomon, along with Goldman and Merrill Lynch & Co., were lead underwriters for the largest U.S. deal of the quarter, the IPO of AT&T Wireless Group, which raised $10.6 billion globally. The three firms, known as bulge-bracket companies in Wall Street parlance, claimed the top three slots in the U.S. IPO rankings. Goldman was first, as in the first quarter. Merrill jumped to second from eighth.
Chase Manhattan Corp. suffered a similar fate in the U.S. market as Fleet did this quarter.
Chase lead six U.S. issues, with total proceeds of $214 million, in the quarter, putting it in 12th place in the U.S. IPO rankings. In the first quarter, Chase lead 12 deals, with total proceeds of $413 million, in the first quarter, enough for seventh place.