May has already been the busiest month ever in new share offers from publicly traded companies, the Wall Street Journal reports. The $54.9 billion in sales this year put the market at a level of activity not seen since 2000. “It’s an indication that the healing process has begun,” one CFO said. But steep discounts point to continued skittishness on the part of investors.
Additional shares, offered variously to recapitalize after a tough winter or take in cash to pay back TARP loans, are being sold at an average of 11% below market value. That’s in stark contrast to usual offering prices at 5% below market. “There is a sense of desperation in the capital raising these days,” the CFO continued. “We’re not jumping to finance yet.”