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IPO Frenzy: Is Toys 'R' Us the Next Deal?

(Updated with additional information on more pending IPOs, including several international offerings.)

AUSTIN, Texas ( TheStreet) -- The newly revived IPO hype is causing a stir in the market, but one possible blockbuster deal could be a landmark for the weak economy.

According to Hoover's IPO Scorecard, which was released Monday, the number of initial public offerings soared 240% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. That represents the first triple-digit gain since 2004.

During the quarter, 17 companies went public on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges, raising $5.5 billion in the process. By comparison, in the third quarter of 2008 just five companies went public, raising $917 million.

Shanda Games (GAME), Banco Santander (STD) and A123 Systems (AONE) are just some of that names that began appearing on the big boards.

A123, a maker of lithium-ion car batteries, has soared more than 30% since its Sept. 24 IPO.

"We saw some good-grade companies that are middle of the road and ready to go public," Tim Walker, Hoover's industry expert and the author of Business Insight Zone, says. "We didn't see speculative offerings or blockbuster offerings. It was mostly well-run companies that were able to come to the market with some cadence, which is a healthy sign."

On Friday alone, Education Management (EDMC) and Echo Global Logistics (ECHO) debuted on the Nasdaq.

This week, data firm Verisk Analytics plans to offer 85.25 million shares at $19 to $21 a share in a bid to raise about $1.7 billion. Verisk plans to be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol VRSK.

Also on the sidelines to go forward with their IPOs are JBS USA, Hyatt Hotels and Cobalt International Energy.

The sudden uptick in initial public offerings is also occuring overseas. On Monday, CapitalLand, Southeast Asia's largest developer, said it will list 20% to 30% of its shopping-mall arm in a Singapore IPO that sources said could raise at least $1 billion.

And there's little doubt that more names will join the list in the fourth quarter, as the economy continues to stabilize.

"The outlook for the end of this year and the beginning of 2010 is a good one when we consider that the third quarter of 2009 beat the previous four quarters combined, both in the number of IPO filings -- more than 30 -- and their average value -- around $400 million," Walker says.

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