Three Trips a Charm--HCA debuts again on the NYSE!

This morning we opened trading for the largest private equity IPO in history, with hospital operator HCA Holdings raising $3.79 billion for its IPO. This is the third trip for founder (and billionaire) Dr. Tommy Frist, Jr.  The one word that seemed to describe the organization this morning was team. An impressive, deep management team led by Richard Bracken--CEO, a blu-chip set of private equity firms including KKR and Bain Capital, a team of the top advisors around the process, and a motivated employee base to deliver results.  Put aside the focus on returns for the firms investing in this deal--this is good for the capital markets. 

With a market that was down 185 points on the Dow as we waited for the stock to open, pre-market indications were climbing as we stood in a packed crowd around the post to open the stock. It's the interaction between the floor, the underwriters, the traders and the DMM which makes the electricity buzz on a huge IPO open at the NYSE. There is nothing that can duplicate that experience. While it took several extra minutes to balance a few nickles to open the stock, the result was worth the wait. 

This deal was the 13th IPO transaction in 2011, with over $11 billion in capital raised on the NYSE year-to-date, and $12.4 billion if we include all IPOs including Closed-End Funds. So far this year, the NYSE leads the world in new capital formation, and the pressure in the pipeline continues to build. We have had the three successive largest PE- backed deals in 2011--starting with Nielsen, then Kinder Morgan, and now HCA. Its only the beginning of a swell of private equity offerings we expect to wash through the market this year. 

The momentum continues to hold open the gates of issuance for other smaller growth oriented IPOs as well. We have several notable tech, Internet, consumer, real estate and energy deals preparing to hit the market in the coming months. As exciting is the record issuance we expect out of China, where we expect to exceed 2010's record year. And it doesn't stop there, as we see building issuance activity in the entire Latin America region, even outside the traditional strength of Brazil in places such as Argentina, Columbia, Peru and Uruguay.

A good message for all, given the role these open capital markets play in job growth, fostering innovation, and keeping our markets competitive globally.