When a company goes from private to public, that process is known as an initial public offering, or IPO. IPOs are a great way for companies to grow. Private companies have few investors. They may have been funded by the founders, some family members and friends. Some promising private companies may also attract angel investors.
An IPO is a great way for a company to level up. Selling new shares means there will be more money available to pay down debt and fund new research. Initial public offerings can also attract lots of media attention. They can also be a great marketing tool.
IPOs are also one way that founders and early investors in a company can monetize their own shares. By selling off some of their stock, they can transform the estimated value of their company into cold, hard cash for the first time. For example, when Facebook went public, Mark Zuckerberg sold some of his own shares and made over $1 billion.
The process for an IPO is fairly complicated and can take six months to a year. First, companies need to get at least an investment bank on board. Sometimes, multiple investment banks are involved. They may work together as a team, or each bank might work alone under their own power.
The next step is to meet with the SEC. Everyone must attend these meetings: lawyers, underwriters, company management and auditors. These meetings are crucial. They will determine the size of the initial public offering and how it is timed.
After this meeting, lots of due diligence is required. This includes market due diligence, legal due diligence and IP due diligence. When the due diligence is complete, the S-1 Registration Statement can be completed.
An S-1 Registration Statement is very detailed, including historical financial information, risk assessment and more. Once it’s ready, a pre-IPO meeting is held so bankers and analysts can learn about the IPO. This also educates them on how to sell it to people. A preliminary prospectus might also be prepared.
Market research is conducted to figure out how investors feel about the company, and what price they would be willing to pay. Managers will meet with investment bankers to settle on a final price. Then, shares are allocated to investors by investment banks, and the stock starts to trade publicly.