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For Startups, a Bleak Year for IPOs and Acquisitions

For entrepreneurs hoping to take their startup public, the outlook is bleak. According to the New York Times, the number of acqusitions and IPOs in the third quarter of this year dropped below even last quarter. That number: three.

That's better than 2008, when only six venture-backed companies went public. But compare that to prior years and the disparity is clear: 2006 and 2007 saw hundreds of public offerings. This year's largest is battery maker A123 Systems, which we reported on earlier this week.

Perhaps more discouraging than the meager number of IPOs is the going rate for acquisitions: Less than half the startups that disclosed their purchase price were able to cash out for more money than their total venture investment.