When you are browsing through the pages of the newspaper, you see an announcement of an IPO offering by a company. If you are among the people who are wondering what is IPO or what is the meaning of IPO? Here, we guide you through the basics of the term and concepts around it.
- IPO definition
- How does a company offer IPO?
- Why does a company offer an IPO?
- Should you invest in an IPO?
- Things you should know before investing
IPO means Initial Public Offering. It is a process by which a privately held company becomes a publicly traded company by offering its shares to the public for the first time. A private company, that has a handful of shareholders, shares the ownership by going public by trading its shares. Through the IPO, the company gets its name listed on the stock exchange.
How does a company offer IPO?
A company before it becomes public hires an investment bank to handle the IPO. The investment bank and the company work out the financial details of the IPO in the underwriting agreement. Later, along with the underwriting agreement, they file the registration statement with SEC. SEC scrutinizes the disclosed information and if found right, it allows a date to announce the IPO.
Why does a company offer an IPO?
- Offering an IPO is a money-making exercise. Every company needs money, it may be to expand, to improve their business, to better the infrastructure, to repay loans, etc
- Trading stocks in the open market mean increased liquidity. It opens door to employee stock ownership plans like stock options and other compensation plans, which attracts the talents in the cream layer
- A company going public means that the brand has gained enough success to get its name flashed in the stock exchanges. It is a matter of credibility and pride to any company
- In a demanding market, a public company can always issue more stocks. This will pave the way to acquisitions and mergers as the stocks can be issued as a part of the deal
Should you invest in an IPO?
Deciding whether to put your money into an IPO of a relatively new company is indeed tricky. Being a skeptic is a positive attitude to have in the stock market.
The Company obviously does not have enough historical data to back your decision, because it is just going public now. The red herring is the data on the IPO details which is provided in the prospectus, you need to scrutinize it. Know about the fund management team and their plans for IPO generated fund utilization.
Who is underwriting
The process of underwriting is raising investments by issuing new securities. Be cagey of the underwriting of small investment banks. They may be willing to underwrite any company. Usually, an IPO with a success potential is backed by big brokerages that have the ability to endorse a new issue well.
Often IPO takes a deep downtrend after the IPO goes public. The reason behind this fall of the share price is the lockup period. A lockup period is a contractual caveat which refers to a period of time the company’s executives and investors are not supposed to sell their shares. After the lock-up period ends, the share price experiences a drop in its price.
People who buy stocks of the company going public and sell off on the secondary market in the view to get quick money are called flippers. Flipping initiates the trading activity.
Things you should know before investing
- If you have bought an IPO for the company, you are exposed to the fortunes of that company. You bear a direct impact on its success and loss
- It is this asset of your portfolio which has the highest potential to reward the returns. On the flip side, it can sink your investment without a sign. Remember stocks are subjected to the volatility of the markets
- You should know that a company which offers its shares to the public is not indebted to reimburse the capital to the public investors
- You should weigh up your potential risks and rewards before investing in an IPO. If you are a novice, read up an account from an expert or a wealth management firm. If still in doubt, talk to your personal financial advisor