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The government shutdown is not stopping the IPO market

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is running with limited staff because of the partial government shutdown. But that’s not stopping companies looking to go public on Wall Street.

New Fortress Energy (NFE), a liquified natural gas company, is tentatively on tap to make its debut on the Nasdaq later this week. New Fortress Energy was founded by Wes Edens, the co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and co-CEO of private equity firm Fortress Investment Group.

The company has filed to sell 22.2 million shares in a range of $17 and $19. The final price will be set just before the initial public offering.

New Fortress Energy’s paperwork with the SEC is in and up to date, but it may not actually debut this week, because of the shutdown.

According to the financial information detailed in its most recent filing, New Fortress Energy looks like a risky investment. The company reported a loss of $43.4 million in the first nine months of 2018 — a bigger loss than the first three quarters of 2017.

Revenue was up just 12.3% from a year ago as well. The company is also saddled with $122 million in debt.

Still, New Fortress Energy does have the backing of Fortress Investment Group, which is the company’s majority owner. And it has lined up big investment banks Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Citigroup and Credit Suisse to underwrite the deal.

So if New Fortress Energy does well once the stock starts trading, that could be a good sign for the many high-profile unicorns of Silicon Valley that may go public later this year.

Uber and Lyft have already submitted confidential filings with the SEC and WeWork, Airbnb, Slack and Palantir may do the same in 2019. None of these companies is expected to start trading until much later this year.

But if New Fortress Energy’s IPO goes off without a hitch, there is another company in the IPO pipeline waiting to go public. Strangely enough, it’s also led by a professional sports owner.

Pivotal Acquisition Corp., a so-called special purpose acquisition or blank check company, is run by Jonathan Ledecky, a co-owner of the New York Islanders hockey team. The company plans to use money from its IPO to invest in e-commerce and other tech businesses.

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