In the world of venture capital, unicorns are companies valued at more than one billion US dollars or more. If such a company goes public (IPO) or is acquired, it is no longer referred to as a unicorn.
According to data gathered by ForexSchoolOnline, the combined value of unicorn exits reached $1.28trn in 2020. With a valuation of $238bn at the point of IPO, the Chinese eCommerce, retail, and tech giant, Alibaba, represents the largest unicorn exit in the world.
2018 and 2019 Witnessed a Total of 72 Unicorn IPOs
In 2014, ten unicorn companies had a successful initial public offering, revealed Statista data. Another four companies were acquired, with the total value of unicorn exits reaching $327.4bn that year. After a slight fall in the number of unicorn exits in the next two years, 2017 witnessed 17 unicorn IPOs and five acquisitions with a total value of $96.15bn.
Statistics show the number of unicorn exits peaked in 2018, with 40 initial public offerings and nine acquisitions worth $346.21bn. The upward trend continued in 2019, with a total of 38 unicorn exits worth $234.77bn. The CrunchBase data revealed that 2020 witnessed seven unicorn acquisitions and five IPOs with a total value of $49.1bn.
As the leading regions for unicorns, North America and the Asia Pacific had the highest number and value of unicorn exits as of 2020. This was primarily due to large IPOs of tech giants like Alibaba and Facebook. Statistics show that Asia Pacific unicorn exits reached $588bn value as of this year. With $557.6bn in the total value of exits, North America ranked as the second-largest region. Europe follows with $88.6bn, respectively.
Five Largest Unicorn Exits hit $532.2bn in Total Value
Even six years after going public, the Chinese tech giant Alibaba still represents the largest unicorn exit in the stock market history with a $238bn market value at the point of the exit. One of the leading social media companies globally, Facebook, ranked second with a valuation of $104bn at the point of the initial public offering.
Uber's highly-anticipated initial public offering represents the third-largest unicorn exit so far, and the largest IPO of 2019. The Chinese group buying website for locally found food delivery services, consumer products, and retail services, Meituan Dianping, ranked fourth on this list. Statistics show the Tencent-backed company hit $55bn in market value after selling shares in the Hong Kong IPO in 2018. Another Chinese company, a smartphone maker Xiaomi, ranked as the fifth-largest unicorn exit in the world, with $52.7bn in market value at the point of going public.