Companies That Had Their IPO in 2001: The Deflating Dot Com Bubble

1 minutes reading time
Published 11 Mar 2024
Author: Emil Persson
Reviewed by: Kasper Karlsson

When comparing the IPO markets of the late 1990s and 2000 to the realities of the 2001 landscape for companies going public it's impossible to not notice the differences. The amount of companies taking to the public markets drastically reduced, with roughly 70% fewer IPOs taking place in 2001 compared to the year prior.

Key Insights

  • Sharp Decline in IPOs: The number of IPOs in 2001 plummeted compared to the late 1990s. Many companies that had planned to go public either postponed or canceled their IPOs due to unfavorable market conditions.

  • Market Sentiment: Investor sentiment was largely bearish, influenced by the ongoing effects of the dot-com crash and ensuing economic slowdown, something which was later compounded by the September 11 attacks.

  • Quality Over Hype: There was a noticeable shift in investor preference towards companies with solid fundamentals, profitable operations, and sustainable business models. The era of high valuations for unprofitable tech and internet companies was largely over.

  • Regulatory Changes: The fallout from the dot-com bubble also led to increased scrutiny of IPOs and a push for more transparency and accountability in the financial markets, setting the stage for regulatory reforms like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

From IPO Frenzy to Caution

Despite the downturn in the markets, some companies did go public, although the numbers were significantly lower, and the funds raised were often less than anticipated. The overall mood was cautious, with both companies and investors recalibrating their expectations in light of the market's new realities. Notably, internet companies more or less completely disappeared from the IPO market in 2001. One of the very few internet companies that did go public was Loudcloud, which today is owned by Open Text Corporation.

A Market Gone Sour

During the dot-com boom, investors were investing heavily in internet startups with the expectation of rapid growth, with many companies receiving valuations that can only be described as wishful. The eventual burst of the bubble led to a stark realization: many of these high-valued companies were fundamentally unsound, lacking the profitability or business models to support their lofty valuations.

Post-bubble, there was a clear shift towards risk aversion. Investors started to favor companies with proven business models, reliable revenue streams, and the potential for sustainable growth. The appetite for speculative investments significantly waned, as many investors seemed to have learned their lesson from the aftermath of the rampant speculation that dominated the markets during the previous years.

Impact of September 11 Attacks

The tragic terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, further worsened market sentiment. The aftermath of the attacks left a nation, and the world as a whole, in complete shock, saw a temporary closure of U.S. stock markets and increased caution in the following weeks and months. While the market rebounded relatively quickly after the attacks, the general sentiment and willingness to go public failed to follow suit. The relief for investors also proved to be short-lived as the ongoing trend of the stock market downturn would continue going into 2002.

Further reading: Companies That Had Their IPO in 2002: Following the Dot-Com Bubble

Tightening Regulations

The fallout from the dot-com bubble led to policymakers feeling the need to step in and take measures to improve overall corporate governance. The need for greater transparency and a more thorough examination of a company's financial health before it could go public became glaringly obvious. Following the deflation of the bubble and the eventual crash, regulators and investors started advocating for stricter standards to ensure that companies seeking to go public had viable business models and clear paths to profitability. One of the most significant regulatory responses was the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Some of the most important aspects of the bill were to enhance corporate responsibility, improve financial disclosures, strengthen auditing processes, and increase overall transparency for investors.

The Biggest IPO of 2001

The biggest IPO of the year was, unlike the year prior, not a technology company. Instead, it was a company in the consumer goods sector. Kraft Foods went public in 2001, raising roughly $8.5 billion in the process. It would later go on to merge with H.J. Heinz in 2015 to form what we know today as Kraft Heinz.

Other Notable IPOs in 2001

While the amount of companies going public decreased significantly, the IPO market didn't come to a complete standstill. Below are some notable companies that went public in 2001.


The iconic and world-famous British luxury house Burberry went public on the LSE in 2001. With over 130 years of heritage at that point, it was a far cry from the young internet companies that had dominated previous years.

Further reading: The 12 Largest Luxury Companies in the World


This American food service and facility services provider took the public markets. This was the second time Aramark had gone public, as it had been the subject of a management buyout in the 1980s.

Advance Auto Parts

The aftermarket automotive parts company Advance Auto Parts acquired several competing companies in 2001 and eventually went public. The AAP of today has nationwide coverage in the US and operates stores in several other countries.


The Irish-American professional services company Accenture went public in the summer of 2001. Today, it's one of the largest consulting firms in the world.

Global Payments

The fintech company Global Payments went public as an independent company after being spun off from National Data Corporation (now part of McKesson Corporation). While it was a tech company, it had a solid business and was received well by investors.

Closing Remarks

The IPO market in 2001 was a reflection of a broader recalibration in the markets, influenced by the burst of the dot-com bubble, changing investor sentiments, and evolving economic conditions. It was a year marked by caution, lower numbers of IPOs, and a shift in focus towards more sustainable and fundamentally sound business practices.

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