Decoding Initial Public Offering (IPO): What is it and How it works

Investment Banking Training

Company ownership is often determined by dividing the perceived value of an organisation along with the individual stakeholders and their respective shares. However, trading shares in a privately-held company is subject to restrictions. These restrictions can be related to legal agreements, shareholder agreements, and company policies, limiting the stakeholders’ ability to freely trade their shares.

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In this case, an IPO is a process where a privately-held company offers its shares to the public for the first time. It allows privately-owned companies to transition to publicly-traded entities. Being enlisted on public stock exchange entities like New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, it becomes easier for both institutional and retail investors to transact these stocks. 

In this article, let's learn in detail about the characteristics and features of an IPO, alongside knowing the various aspects of an investment banking course and derivative markets

What is Initial Public Offering (IPO)? 

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is a process of offering company shares to the general public for the first time. It allows the company to raise their equity capital from private investors. 

Through an IPO, the company gets listed on public stock exchange listings, including stock ticker symbols and other easy ways to identify and trade stocks. In this modern digital ecosystem, IPO has become an integral part of raising capital in the public market and assessing a wider range of investors. 

History of IPO 

The history of IPO is unique and is the cause of the buzzword on Wall Street and among several investors for decades. The Dutch are the flag bearers of creating the concept of IPO by offering their shares to the Dutch East India Company. This has made the company available in the global market during that time. 

Since then, IPOs have been used in various ways by companies to raise their capital through public share ownership. IPO has become a boon to companies that have economically stabilised their market standpoint. 

Through the years, IPOs are well known for both their uptrends and downtrends in their issuance. Even individual sectors are prone to face such experiences in uptrends and downtrends through various economic factors. This was significantly on the rise during the 2008 financial crisis. 

In the 2008 financial crisis, the number of IPOs was substantially reduced, and for a few years, new listings became extremely rare in the global market. However, the recent uprising of start-up companies, reaching private valuations of more than 1 billion dollars, has created IPO buzz once again. This has majorly helped in reviving IPO in the modern market. 

How Does an IPO Work? 

Before the IPOs came into existence, the companies were considered to be private business entities. Due to this, businesses have only grown with a few shareholders like early investors, family, founders, and friends, alongside angel investors and venture capitalists. 

As the concept of IPO emerged, it provided the scope for the companies to raise lots of money. It also encourages company growth and increased transparency. 

There are also a few foundational steps to IPO. They are: 

  • Strategic review: The step for the organisation to perform several comprehensive reviews of operations and business goals.
  • Engaging underwriter: The organisation often tends to engage with various investment bank groups to work as an underwriter for the IPO. These underwriters work on commission to sell the initial block of shares.
  • Prospectus development: This helps in outlining the financial status of the company and also depicts the number of shares the company wants to issue. They also outline the future issues the companies might face.
  • Investor promotion: The companies promote IPO to their varied potential investors, who are also known as the 'investor roadshow' to raise their capital.
  • Share issuance: On the occurrence day of IPO, an initial share price and stock trading become public. 

Pros and Cons of IPO 

IPOs not only come with their pros but have various cons as well. Let's see what they are: 


Capital potential: IPO comes with the advantage that caters to the company to profit in the public market. 

Exposure: An IPO always involves a lot of public exposure that is great for the future of a company. They help the company to gain more respect in the industry and get better funding from the lenders. 

Allows early investments: By launching an IPO, the company can have early investors cashing in their investments. Going public enhances the company's investments and also incurs a huge amount of profit. 


Transparency requirements: Once the IPO takes over a company, the company has to disclose the financial details to the public. This includes not only their budget but also their quarterly and annual financial statements. 

Company disqualification: Even if a company might meet the SEC requirements, the bank will not be willing to facilitate the procedures. Due to the 2008 financial crisis along with the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IPO world is now leaning towards the 'unicorn' companies to qualify in the global market. 


An IPO is considered the future of a company's growing financial ecosystem. There are various other ways to impose an IPO in their company by not going public. Those methods are predominantly direct listings, SPAC, staying private and other different ways. 

If you want to take up an investment banking course, check out Imarticus Learning's Certified Investment Banking Operations Professional course or CIBOP course. You will learn in detail about investment banking and IPO. You also will be open to the opportunity to earn more than 5 LPA and a guaranteed salary hike. 

To know more, check out the website right away:

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