Initial Public Offering (IPO)
Also referred to simply as a "public offering," is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public.
IPOs are issued by companies seeking capital to expand, and can be done by new companies as well as by
large privately-owned companies looking to become publicly traded.
In an IPO, the issuer may obtain the assistance of an underwriting firm, which helps it determine what type
of security to issue (common or preferred), best offering price and time to bring it to market.
IPOs can be a risky investment. For the individual investor, it is tough to predict what the stock will do in the
near future since there is often little historical data with which to analyze the company. Also, most IPOs are
of companies going through a transitory growth period, and they are therefore subject to additional
uncertainty regarding their future value.
IPOs can be purchased through syndicate offerings (at a pre-determined price) or in the open market, once
the shares begin trading.
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