The initial public offering (IPO) process involves a company looking to raise capital by selling shares to the general public in what is known as the primary market. After the shares are listed they trade on the secondary markets where investors buy and sell them for a profit. It is a crucial step in the growth of a company, and can be an important milestone for the company. However, there are many factors to consider before an IPO, including the regulatory environment and the cost of listing.
Companies that wish to list on a stock exchange must engage with an investment bank which acts as the underwriter. The underwriter is responsible for assessing the value of the new share issuance and establishing an appropriate offering price. They also market the IPO to institutional investors and conduct road shows to evaluate demand for the shares.
Once the underwriter has established an IPO price, they begin to build their book by asking investors to subscribe to (register their interest in) the IPO. These indications of interest are then used by the underwriter to finalize the IPO price and the number of shares offered.
An IPO is usually priced at a discount to the net present value of a company’s expected future cash flows. A variety of valuation techniques are used to arrive at this value on a per share basis, and these include discounted cash flow, equity value, comparable firm adjustments and more. The underwriters also look at the current market and competitors’ share prices to help set an IPO price.
During the marketing process, the underwriters create a prospectus which includes details of the new share issuance. This document is referred to as the Red Herring Prospectus and contains various segments such as financial records, business plan, future plans, potential risks in the market and a indicative offer price range. The underwriters then go on road shows to market the IPO to potential institutional investors.
Once the IPO is underwritten, the underwriters will allocate shares to individual investors based on their subscription amounts and demand. The allocations are then credited to the investor’s demat account. If there is oversubscription, some investors may not get the number of shares they wanted – in which case they will receive a refund for their money.
After the IPO is underwritten, the underwriters must still complete the required filings with the stock exchange. Once these filings are completed the IPO will be formally approved and the company will become publicly traded.
The next stage is to ensure that processes are in place for the company to report auditable financial and accounting information every quarter. This will be essential for compliance with the regulations of the stock exchange and Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States. Additionally, the company will need to form a board of directors and establish governance policies to meet stock exchange listing requirements. It will also need to develop an external legal team to prepare an extensive list of documents to be submitted to regulators. initial public offering services