NYSE President Stacey Cunningham Foresees Blockbuster IPO Season

By Chloe Aiello

Early 2019 has been strong for companies looking to go public, but it's been even better for the New York Stock Exchange. The more than 225-year-old exchange won out over Nasdaq in the battle for Pinterest, and Uber, and anticipates welcoming other major companies as well.

NYSE president Stacey Cunningham said it's only the beginning of a blockbuster season for the exchange.

"We have a number of companies on file with the NYSE, and a few of them are going to be raising over $1 billion," Cunningham told Cheddar in a wide-ranging interview on Friday. "We welcomed Levi, we welcomed PagerDuty, so we see companies of various sizes coming to market and performing really well. So I think that message and that sentiment is telling other companies it is a good time."

Enterprise technology company Slack, and ride hailing company Uber, valued at more than $100 billion, selected NYSE for their public debuts this year, despite fierce competition from Nasdaq. Uber's IPO is expected to be the largest of the year and one of the top five of all time on NYSE, Fortune reported.

According to Reuters, internet companies have favored NYSE over Nasdaq in recent years after Nasdaq bungled Facebook's 2012 IPO. Cunningham attributed the exchange's success in part to its ability to handle large transactions.

"When you look at those large deals, we excel. That's certainly one of the areas where we are very proud of the systems that we put in place and the effort that we put to make sure that those IPOs are executed flawlessly," she said.

Cunningham also said NYSE has begun to see rising interest in direct listings since Spotify took that alternative route to the public markets last year. Slack, for example, just filed for a direct listing on NYSE Friday. A direct listing foregoes the safety net of a bank underwriter in favor of a quicker, cheaper way to access the currency and liquidity of the public markets.

Cunningham said it doesn't really matter to NYSE's business whether or not a company chooses an IPO or a direct listing, but that more companies have been choosing to list directly on NYSE because of the "model we have in place that facilitates that."

Cunningham also offered an update on the lawsuit NYSE filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February over an SEC pilot that would limit the fees and rebates that stock exchanges and brokers pay one another.

"You never want to sue your regulator, it's not something we take lightly," Cunningham said. "We are in a wait-and-see mode right now, but then it will go through the legal process."

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