IPOs Spring Back

The IPO market showed some signs of life today with DigitalGlobe’s $280 million offering, and fresh indications that some long-dormant IPO candidates may actually make it to market.

Shares of Longmont, Colo.-based Digital Globe priced at $19 – above the anticipated range of $16 to $18. The stock traded as high as $25 before settling down to close at $21.50. It’s the biggest offering in some time for a private equity-backed company, and not a bad first-day performance. Morgan Stanley is the biggest investor in the company, with a 37% stake, valued at about $344 million.

Still, other venture and private-equity backed companies remain reluctant to test the IPO waters. Over the past couple months, no VC- or private equity-backed companies have filed to go public. The only one expected to debut in the next few weeks is venture-backed reservation site OpenTable.

But some of those companies that filed back when market conditions were better may be gearing up to try again. Just yesterday, Nexsan Corp., a provider of energy-efficient disk-based storage systems, filed an amended IPO prospectus for an offering on Nasdaq. The Thousand Oaks, Calif. company made its initial filing for an $80.5 million offering in April of last year.

Since 2003, Nexcan has raised $26.5 million in venture funding, according to Thomson Financial, with backing from Beechtree Capital, RRE Ventures and VantagePoint Venture Partners. Currently, VantagePoint owns about a quarter of the company, and RRE has a 7% stake.

Delaying the IPO, apparently, was a costly move. The company posted a charge of $3.5 million in its 2008 financial statement, labeled a “write-off of delayed public offering costs.” That pushed total loss last year to $5.3 million, despite a more than 20% gain in revenues.