The Oxford Handbook of IPOs
Firms generally begin as privately owned entities. When they grow large enough, the decision to go public and its consequences are among the most crucial times in a firm’s life cycle. The first time a firm is a reporting issuer gives rise to tremendous responsibilities about disclosing public information and accountability to a wide array of retail shareholders and institutional investors. Initial public offerings (IPOs) offer tremendous opportunities to raise capital. The economic and legal landscape for IPOs has been rapidly evolving across countries. There have been fewer IPOs in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–2009 financial crisis and associated regulatory reforms that began in 2002. In 1980–2000, an average of 310 firms went public every year, while in 2001–2014 an average of 110 firms went public every year. At the same time, there are so many firms that seek an IPO in China that there has been a massive waiting list of hundreds of firms in recent years. Some countries are promoting small junior stock exchanges to go public early, and even crowdfunding to avoid any prospectus disclosure. Financial regulation of analysts and investment banks has been evolving in ways that drastically impact the economics of going public—in some countries, such as the United States, drastically increasing the minimum size of a company before it can expect to go public. This Handbook not only systematically and comprehensively consolidates a large body of literature on IPOs, but provides a foundation for future debates and inquiry.