NEW YORK ( TheStreet -- 2011 could shape up to be a big year for IPOs but it's got a tough act to follow.
In 2010, 478 companies went public, a concrete sign of recovery for the market, although still below the peak in 2007 of 555 deals. Paul Bard of Renaissance Capital believes the number of offerings will increase in 2011 since many private equity deals have been waiting for the market to improve.
An early debut could be Nielsen Media, which is expected to begin marketing efforts in the next couple of weeks. Nielsen is famous for its TV audience measurements and it's expected to seek to raise about $2 billion.Renaissance Capital thinks a successful offering by Nielsen could set the stage for another giant IPO, HCA, which is expected to seek $4.6 billion. Toys "R" Us could also potentially go public again as its turnaround shapes up. In addition, the excitement generated by Goldman Sach's (GS - Get Report) investment into Facebook could inspire other online media companies to make their move. Bard believes this crop of companies is unlike the tech bubble in the past. "Where we are today in the IPO market from a quality perspective is light years away from where we were in the tech bubble," he says. "Many of these companies not only are they fast growing, but they're profitable." Bard also feels that secondary exchange trading of private shares has delayed the inevitable offerings of certain social media darlings but that 2011 could be the year they come to market.