Initial Public Offering (IPO)

A major market where businesses go to raise capital for the long term.

When a private business decides to go public, it distributes its shares to investors through an IPO. It is the first time a corporation sells shares to the general public, institutional investors, and HNIs.

Initial public offering

A major market known as the "IPO market" is where businesses go to raise capital for the long term. A private company becomes public through this procedure, which involves getting its name listed on the stock exchange

The management of businesses that decide to go public is confident in their business strategy. This action anticipates that the Public Offering will attract the attention of strategic and retail investors while also being prepared to face the regulator's strict requirements.

Many people view these offerings as a way to make quick and easy gains on their investment as it's a long-observed pattern that when well-known companies are listed on the market, their stock prices soar, garnering media attention.

But despite their undeniable lucrativeness, these offerings can be hazardous investments that do not offer good returns over the long term compared to the index. Over the long time frame, most of these offerings fail, so investors need to keep that in mind.

How Do These Work?

No matter how massive or small, every business requires capital at every stage of its operations. So when a business offers its shares on a stock exchange to the general public, the IPO begins.

Almost all businesses begin as private entities, with a small group of individuals sponsoring their initial activities. These investors fund such ventures in the hope that the company's growth will result in a positive return on their investment. 

Before shares can be publicly listed, companies must follow the offering procedure set by stock exchanges. The SEC oversees the whole procedure in the USA and has outlined several steps that must be complied with before a firm can be listed on a stock exchange.

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As a result, a private company planning to list on the stock market hires an underwriter-typically an investment bank-to offer guidance on the Initial public offering and assist with setting the right price.

Financial professionals like investment bankers are tasked with conducting in-depth research on the company's financial parameters as part of the process. 

The investment banks acting as underwriters oversee the entire offering process and liaison between the business and potential investors.


By producing necessary paperwork for investors and setting up meetings with possible investors, underwriters assist management in getting ready for an IPO.

Once the company and its advisors have decided on an initial price for the offering, the underwriter releases shares to investors after complying with the entire regulatory process. Then, finally, investors can apply for IPO.

Once Shares get listed on a stock exchange such as the NASDAQ or NYSE. After that, the company's stock begins trading on a public stock exchange, and you can start trading in shares just like any other market stock. 

Each country has its stock exchange where companies get listed. Regulators may have different restrictions and requirements depending on the jurisdiction in which the company wishes to list its shares. 

For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States establishes the policies and guidelines that decide whether a business can be publicly traded.

How to participate in it?

Each country has its requirements, but in the USA, you must fulfill FINRA standards and the eligibility requirements set forth by your brokerage firm. Usually, you can do this by responding to a series of inquiries from your brokerage company.


If you satisfy FINRA's and your brokerage firm's standards, check the company's preliminary prospectus to learn about the risks. After requesting to buy shares in the offering, you must inform the company of the number of shares you desire.

You can apply directly through your brokerage account. However, it's important to remember that you need to do more than use to ensure you will receive any shares in the offering. 

You must first choose the account you wish to use. After doing so, click Enter New Indication of Interest or Bid, whatever option shows on the screen, and then click Submit. When the Select Offering screen appears, choose to Participate next to the offering.


Specifying the number of shares you feel comfortable owning is a key requirement because requesting a large number won't increase your chances of getting an allocation. If your indication of interest is accepted, you will learn that the offering has been priced on the pricing evening after it has been declared effective. 

You must confirm your expression of interest by a certain deadline to be eligible to purchase shares. You effectively convert your expression of interest into an order to purchase shares by confirming it.

Why do companies choose to go through an IPO?

One of the most typical reasons for a company to go public is to raise funds for the company. Raising capital can be done for various reasons, including growing a firm, funding research, paying off debt, developing infrastructure, etc. 


The goal is to accumulate some funds to aid in future advancements. Significant incentives for launching an IPO can be understood from the brief pointers below - 

  • The possibility of company expansion also increases with capital. Shares in a variety of private businesses are held by numerous stakeholders, including the company's founders and private investors. 
  • Listing on a stock exchange can be an option if the current investors choose to sell their stake wholly or in part. The current shareholders of the corporation may sell their shares to the general public through an Offer for Sale. As a result, current stockholders can sell their shares through an Initial public offering.
  • A company's shares can be sold to the general public to generate significant liquidity and capital that can be used to enhance the company's future. The company will have a stronger financial position to request loans or negotiate loan terms after the capital infusion.
  • Shares of a corporation are also easily tradable when they are listed on a stock exchange compared to when the company is private. For a corporation to engage in this trading activity, its shares must be listed. As a result, the shares become more liquid, attracting investors to invest in the company. Additionally, it will increase price transparency and the company's financial stability.
  • The financial data is also easily accessible to anyone due to the SEC's stringent regulation, which Provides more transparency.

Should You Invest in these?

You can gain early access to a business with significant development potential by investing in an IPO. In addition, it may give you a large profit margin and help you expand your money over time. 


This is a beautiful investment opportunity for you if you are adept at predicting the future of businesses and determining whether the offering will succeed.

An IPO investment is similar to other investments. However, they have the potential to provide you with good returns over an extended period, which you may then invest in financial obligations and life ambitions. 

It is not any less or more risky than investing in mutual funds or other conventional investment options available in the stock market if you take a calculated risk.

Despite its volatility, the stock market can assist you in building wealth over the long run by purchasing valuable stocks from successful businesses. An Initial public offering presents your opportunity to build wealth by selecting high-quality stocks at reasonable prices.

You can purchase numerous shares while staying within your budget because most of these offerings are inexpensive. If the business expands, the value of your shares will rise quickly. Stocks will cost substantially more if you try purchasing them after they are listed.


If you are well informed and aware of the state of the market, investing in these offerings can be a good move. Unfortunately, some of these offerings become history, making those who passed up the chance regret it immensely. 

Savvy investors always maintain track of the list of prospective initial public offerings and add valuable shares to their portfolio whenever they see the opportunity.


There are many advantages to investing in an initial public offering. The year of IPOs might be referred to as 2021. The first few months of the year saw the Public Offerings of many enterprises. So let's discuss the numerous benefits of investing in a public offering without further ado.


1. Early opportunity

The first time a company's shares are made available to the general public is during its Initial public offering. Therefore, you have the ideal chance to buy shares early. These Initial public offerings may help cash in some quick gains if withdrawn quickly. You can maintain your positions for a long time as well.

2. Long-term benefits

In the long run, investing in these Initial Public Offerings can help you generate excellent returns. This is because investments in initial public offerings are a type of stock investment that can be leveraged to achieve long-term objectives like retirement planning.


3. Transparency

The prospectus that the company files and makes public contains all the details regarding the price valuation of equity shares. As a result, you get access to the same information that some of the best investors possess. 

This, however, alters in the post-listing environment. After going public, the price would adjust based on industry performance and investor interest garnered.

4. High ROI in the short term

The price given when a company is going public turns out to be the most affordable one available for purchasing equity shares of a company with the potential to become very successful. 

Man with money

However, the stock prices can jump immediately after the listing, enabling you to make sizable profits quickly; there have been some IPOs with listing gains of more than 70%.


Think about the cost of a Coca-Cola share acquired when the company went public. In 1919, the corporation's initial public offering fixed the share cost at $40. 

An investor who purchased one share in 1919 would currently own 9,216 shares after more than 100 years (and numerous stock splits).

That initial investment would have grown to be worth $559,964 if it had been valued at $60.76 per share, which was the 52-week average closing price for Coca-Cola stock as of October 31, 2022-not including dividends.


Even this has advantages and disadvantages, much like any other type of investment. Before making an investment decision, it's crucial to be aware of the drawbacks. Let's look at some of these drawbacks.


1. Liquidity problem

Many investors today want to sell the shares soon after the listing, to profit from the listing gains. But it's not always possible. Selling is typically quite simple with highly successful IPOs, but in other cases, there may be liquidity problems as no one wants to buy the shares of a flop offering.

2. Time commitment

Before investing, you must comprehensively investigate the company and its track record. The company's prospectus contains the same information, but understanding it takes time and effort.

3. Launch during the bull market

Most companies go public during a bull market when euphoria is high. However, it is often said that you should always go with the flow. Thus, most businesses prefer to launch or issue their initial public offerings during the bull phase of the market. 

Buy sell

When the market is in a bull phase, the sentiment is positive, and Investors are prepared to take high equity exposure or risk in exchange for higher profits. Unfortunately, it goes against the stock investment's fundamentals.

As we have seen, the stock market meltdown reveals the reality of the stocks which went public during the bull market. In situations like this, an investor is taken off guard. As a result, over-subscription during a bull market is more significant than over-subscription during a bear market.


Not every IPO ends happily. One example is Webvan, a supermarket delivery service from the dot-com era. After its initial public offering in 1999, Webvan operated for about three years before suffering enormous losses. 

When the company filed for bankruptcy in 2001, shareholders who bought shares at the time when the company was going public at $26 per share (and experienced a growth of 58 percent on the first day) and held on to them finally saw their shares drop to only 6 cents each.



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Researched and Authored by Rishabh Bhoria LinkedIn

Reviewed and Edited by Krupa Jatania LinkedIn

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