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Tableau’s listing on NYSE today heightens the intense race for tech IPOS with Nasdaq

Tableau IPO
Photo by Ben Hider/NYSE Euronext
A win for NYSE.
By Gina Chon
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The IPO for data visualization firm Tableau Software today lived up to the hype that has preceded it. Tableau opened trading at $47, compared to its IPO price of $31—and that’s even after the size of the offering was increased. Interestingly, Tableau chose the New York Stock Exchange over Nasdaq for its IPO. Nasdaq has been traditionally seen as the go to place for tech IPOs, but NYSE has managed to gain share from its rival over the last few years.

NYSE started to make inroads in tech IPOs after the listing rules changed in 2008 to make it easier for companies that were losing money, which is a characteristic of a lot of tech start ups, to go public. Since then, NYSE has increased its presence in Silicon Valley and markets heavily to tech startups. It has managed to win over LinkedIn, online review company Yelp and network security firm Palo Alto Networks for their buzzy IPOs.

According to NYSE figures, the exchange had 80% of the top 20 tech listings last year and has eight of 13 so far this year. Nasdaq claims each of the New York exchanges have eight tech IPOs so far in 2013. The figures differ because the exchanges have different definitions for what is a tech company. Today, Nasdaq celebrated the listing of cloud-based marketing software firm Marketo, which priced its IPO at $13 a share and opened at $20.

Nasdaq was chosen for some of the most well known companies to go public, such as Groupon, Zynga and Facebook, the biggest IPO prize last year. NYSE also competed fiercely for those IPOs, including Facebook. But its loss may have been a blessing in disguise. Nasdaq experienced technological glitches that affected trading for Facebook’s stock on its first day as a public company.

Nasdaq’s technology, in addition to lower fees and its presence in Times Square, is part of its pitch to companies. NYSE markets its big media presence (the open and close are broadcast on CNBC) and its combination of human intelligence and technology (it still has a trading floor.)

Nasdaq has also snagged some companies that in the past were seen as traditionally more NYSE-type companies. Mondelez International, the snacks business spun off from Kraft, chose to list on Nasdaq and so did doughnut maker Dunkin’ Brands Group. Nasdaq also notes that even after the Facebook snafu, 14 companies switched from listing on NYSE to Nasdaq last year, including Kraft Foods, while 11 firms went from Nasdaq to NYSE.

In the tech world, among the next targets for wooing by NYSE and Nasdaq are online data storage companies Dropbox and Box, China’s Alibaba, and of course, Twitter, which probably won’t IPO until next year.

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