‘Flash Freeze’ Puts a New Twist in Tech IPO Battle

Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

One major question after the latest snafu at Nasdaq is how it will affect the exchange’s fight for hot initial public offerings. The best analogy is the Facebook IPO debacle, after which the Nasdaq lost ground to the NYSE when it came to wooing IPOs.

Since that IPO, in May 2012, the Nasdaq has taken 15 tech companies public, raising $1.35 billion. In the same period, the NYSE handled 21 tech IPOs, which raised $3.5 billion, or more than twice that of its rival, according to S&P Capital IQ.

“Any exchange that prides itself on being a technology or technological vanguard, if they have hiccups—how well are they serving clients and potential clients in the future?” asked Rich Peterson, director of global markets intelligence at S&P Capital IQ.

(Read More: Nasdaq Resumes Trading After Three-Hour Shutdown)

William Preston of IPO research firm Renaissance Capital told CNBC that the NYSE was already gaining share before the Facebook offering.

“Nasdaq fumbled one of the highest-profile IPOs ever, and it was so damaging to market sentiment and to CEOs of prospective IPOs that it essentially gave NYSE ammunition for future pitches,” Preston said. “Today’s trading halt will likely do the same.”

The NYSE reported that its IPO lead has been accelerating, noting that in the first half of this year it raised four times as much capital from U.S. IPOs as from any other U.S. marketplace, with a record 64 percent of tech offerings—raising 58 percent of capital in the tech sector.

Some of the tech companies choosing the NYSE since Nasdaq bungled Facebook’s debut: Trulia, Palo Alto Networks, Workday and Evertec. The last two raised more than $500 million each.

Now all eyes are on the next wave of highly anticipated offerings, expected in the next year. Twitter, storage companies Box and Dropbox, big data cruncher Palantir Technologies, and car service Uber are all expected to file $1 billion-plus IPOs.

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But will they head for the Nasdaq to join giants Google, Apple and Facebook, or will that exchange’s blunders send them to the NYSE.

“Nasdaq was the home and the haven for many tech offerings,” said S&P’s Peterson. “But now, if you look at the post-Facebook period, the NYSE is gaining the bragging rights over its uptown competitor.”

On CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld how he thinks the trading freeze will impact Nasdaq’s IPO business.

“I think people respect … that we did handle this process in a proper way,” Greifeld said. “We want to get to perfection; we want to get to 100 percent reliability, and we are getting better at that all the time.”

(Watch: Will Nasdaq Shutdown Damage Investor Confidence?)

“The instances of [trading] problems in the U.S. has actually gone down,” he said. “You can’t quite get that from the press. … The world is getting better. I think people recognize that.”

We’ll see if CEOs recognize that when they pick an exchange for their IPO.

—Follow Julia Boorstin on Twitter: @JBoorstin

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