In addition to the activity expected in the online networking universe, analysts predict that next year will bring a surge in filings as the economy strengthens and private equity firms invested in various companies continue to look for a profitable exit from their investments through an IPO or sale. There are already 95 companies in the IPO pipeline so far, compared with 63 public offerings this year. That's still less than a quarter of the 272 that went public in 2007.
"There's quite an appetite right now for profitable companies, and there are enough coming up that are interesting and have positive cash flow and top-line revenue growth," said Francis Gaskins of IPOdesktop.com. "The window is wide open for what I expect is a backlog of private equity deals that want to get out."
Technology companies planning IPOs are getting the most attention, including Calix Networks Inc., which provides communications systems and software; semiconductor company Telegent Systems Inc.; Newegg.com Inc., an online-only retailer that sells computer hardware, software and consumer electronics; and online marketing company QuinStreet Corp.
"There are many well-founded, impressive names out there," Sweet said. "Especially considering how active the past few months have been with the best performances coming from technology companies, I do believe venture capital firms will make a grand entrance back to the market on their credibility."Also driving the IPO market are deals from Asia, which is enjoying stronger economy and a resurgence in investment. Companies there have clean balance sheets and earnings that are stronger than many debt-heavy U.S. firms. Offerings on exchanges in Hong Kong and mainland China have raised about twice as much as U.S. IPOs in 2009.