Nasdaq CEO Says Exchange May Soon Surpass NYSE for IPOs

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Nasdaq Stock Market could surpass its archrival, the New York Stock Exchange, this year or next in the number and value of initial public offerings, Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O) Chief Executive Robert Greifeld said on Thursday.

“It certainly is realistic” to expect Nasdaq could surpass the Big Board, operated by NYSE Euronext (NYX.N), in 2009 or 2010, Greifeld told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.

“It’s a long, slow, steady build,” he said. “We are building momentum and increasing the win rate in switches and IPOs, and we feel that progress has been very steady and will continue.”

Nasdaq and NYSE have each drawn eight U.S. IPOs so far this year. The proceeds from the NYSE-listed offerings total $2.1 billion, 60 percent more than those at Nasdaq, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The data exclude real estate investment trusts (REITs), which overwhelmingly list on NYSE, IPOs of less than $10 million, and special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, where cash is raised for a buyout.

Secondary offerings by public companies also heavily favor the Big Board.

Companies looking to go public have scrambled since February to take advantage of this year’s stock market rebound, marking an end to what had been a six-month near drought.

Eight U.S. IPOs are expected next week, which would make it the best IPO week since December 2007. Of the eight, three are headed to Nasdaq, including high-profile offerings by online video game operator Shanda Games (GAME.O) and lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems (AONE.O); five are headed to the NYSE, including three REITs.

NYSE is hardly ready to cede the IPO crown.

“The reality is that so far in 2009, double the number of companies, and almost four times the proceeds, have been public in our markets” compared with Nasdaq, said NYSE Euronext spokesman Christiaan Brakman, citing data that includes REITs and closed-end funds. “Next week … there will be an additional estimated $3 billion raised.”

The Thomson Reuters data show Big Board offerings raised more than Nasdaq offerings in every year this decade except 2000, at the height of the dot-com boom. Nasdaq had more IPOs in every year but 2008.

In addition to providing new-listings and data fees, which account for 30 percent to 35 percent of the exchange operators’ overall revenue, IPOs bring prestige and boost exchanges’ brands.

The NYSE has listed the two largest IPOs so far this year: Starwood Property Trust Inc (STWD.N), a REIT, at $951.5 million, and pediatric nutrition company Mead Johnson Nutrition Co (MJN.N), at $828 million. It is also slated to get what may be the biggest of the year — a $5.6 billion offering by Banco Santander SA, the Brazilian unit of Spanish bank Santander (SAN.MC).

The all-electronic Nasdaq has drawn several high-profile Chinese IPOs, including video game maker Ltd (CYOU.O), the best performing IPO of 2009. Shanda Games is being carved out from Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd (SNDA.O) in a planned $725 million listing.

The two New York-based exchanges have also fought hard to lure existing listings from one another. Toy company Mattel Inc (MAT.N) said this week that it would move to Nasdaq from NYSE at the end of the month; some switches have gone the other way. (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer and Phil Wahba; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and John Wallace)