Venture Capitalists Mourn Weak IPO Market After E Ink Buyout

Venture capitalists view the decision by e-book pioneer E Ink Corp. to sell out to a Taiwanese company as one more sign of the moribund IPO market.

E Ink, of Cambridge, Mass., would once have been a sure-fire candidate for an initial public offering. Its sales more than doubled to $18 million in the first quarter on the strength of rising sales of products like Amazon.com’s (AMZN) Kindle and Sony’s (SNE) Reader, which use E Ink technology. But today IPOs are scanty, and venture capitalists increasingly look to the mergers-and-acquisitions market as their best exit.

E Ink president Russ Wilcox said after the sale announcement that it was easier for Prime View International, its Taipei-based acquirer, to raise money by going public there and in London than it would have been for E Ink to go public in the U.S. “This is an innovative way to get access to the public markets and grow the company at a very fast speed,” he said.

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