Tech startup stocks headed for a big selloff as IPO lock-in period to end in November

India’s fledgling technology sector faces a key test this month as lock-up periods on $14 billion worth of shares sold in initial public offers (IPOs) expire, allowing billionaire backers, including Warren Buffett and Masayoshi Son, to sell. 

Lock-ups end in November for four consumer-focused tech stocks, which have all slumped in the past month. Included are One 97 Communications – operator of payments service Paytm – and FSN E-Commerce Ventures – owner of beauty e-retailer Nykaa. 

A relatively-new phenomenon in India, high-profile tech IPOs have met with strong demand from the nation’s growing herd of retail investors and seen by some as proving success for the government’s efforts to foster startups. Market experts have been more neutral on the stocks, however, and regulators have sought clarity over valuations and fundamentals. 

“Investors have become more demanding when it comes to expectations of future profitability from these businesses,” Tom Masi and Nuno Fernandes, co-portfolio managers at GW&K Investment Management, have said in an email. 

India’s market for first-time share sales had boomed in 2021, raising a record $18 billion in proceeds amid high demand for tech issues in the low-rate early days of reopening after the pandemic. Overall, IPOs have slowed this year amid slumping tech stock prices, increasing rates and recession fears. 

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