what is ipo in stock market

What is IPO in Stock Market (PH Trading & Investing Guide)

Are you curious about what Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) mean in the Philippine Stock Market? An IPO, a crucial milestone in a company’s journey, transforms it from a private firm into a publicly traded entity. 

This guide will unravel the intricacies of IPOs, offering you a clear and detailed understanding. Imagine being part of a company’s growth story by investing early on. With this knowledge, you could potentially seize lucrative opportunities that IPOs present. 

Whether you’re a seasoned investor or a beginner, dive into this guide and equip yourself with the knowledge to navigate IPOs confidently in the Philippine Stock Market.

What is IPO in Stock Market?

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is a significant milestone in a company’s growth, marking the transition from private ownership to public trading. It’s the process where a private company offers its shares to the public for the first time on a stock exchange.

The primary objective of an IPO is to raise capital. When a company “goes public,” it essentially sells parts of its ownership to outside investors. The funds raised can be used for various purposes, including funding research and development, reducing debt, or expanding into new markets or product lines.

Before a company can launch an IPO, it must undergo a rigorous process that includes financial audits, preparation of legal documents, and collaboration with investment banks. 

These banks act as underwriters, buying shares from the company and selling them to the public. This ensures the company receives its desired amount of capital regardless of how well the IPO performs.

Understanding the IPO Process

ipo process steps
Image Source: Finance Strategists

The IPO process is complex and involves several steps. Let’s delve into these stages to understand better how a company goes public.

The Decision to Go Public

The journey toward an IPO begins with the decision to go public. Companies must weigh the potential advantages, such as access to substantial capital for growth and increased market visibility, against the drawbacks. 

For instance, going public increases regulatory scrutiny, reporting requirements, and pressure to deliver shareholder returns. This strategic decision should align with the company’s long-term growth objectives.

Choosing an Investment Bank

Once a company decides to go public, it typically collaborates with an investment bank or several banks to navigate the IPO process. 

These banks serve as underwriters for the IPO, guaranteeing that they will sell the allotted shares at the agreed price. The selection of the right underwriter is crucial since it can significantly impact the success of the IPO.

Due Diligence and Regulatory Filings

Following the selection of the underwriter, the company enters a phase known as due diligence. During this stage, the company, with the help of its underwriters and legal team, prepares a registration statement for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

This document includes a prospectus, which provides potential investors with detailed information about the company. It covers aspects like the company’s business model, financial performance, management structure, and potential risks associated with the investment.

Pricing the IPO

Determining the price of the IPO is a critical step in the process. The underwriter works closely with the company to settle on a fair yet attractive share price. This price should strike a balance between reflecting the company’s true value and being appealing enough to draw investors.

Roadshow and Selling of Shares

After pricing the IPO, the company and its underwriters embark on a ‘roadshow.’ During this period, they present the investment opportunity to institutional investors and analysts across different locations. The goal is to generate buzz and excitement around the IPO and attract potential investors.

Once the roadshow concludes and the SEC approves the registration statement, the company can finally launch the IPO. The shares are sold to the public on the IPO date, and the company officially becomes publicly traded.

Post-IPO Transition

The IPO process doesn’t end when the company goes public. There’s a transition phase where the company adjusts to its new status. It now has to meet quarterly reporting requirements, manage investor relations, and strive to maximize shareholder value.

IPO vs Direct Listing: What’s the Difference?

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) and Direct Listing are two methods companies use to go public, i.e., to start selling their shares on the stock market. Here’s a brief comparison of the two:

IPODirect Listing
Capital RaisingCompanies can raise new capital by issuing new shares.No new capital is raised as only existing shares are sold.
UnderwritingInvestment banks underwrite the offering, meaning they take on the risk and help sell the shares.There is no underwriting process or involvement of investment banks.
PricingUnderwriters determine the pricing of shares after gauging investor interest. This often involves a roadshow to promote the stock.The opening price is determined by supply and demand in the open market.
Lock-up PeriodEarly investors and insiders are typically prohibited from selling their shares for a certain period (usually 90-180 days).There is no lock-up period, allowing early investors and insiders to sell their shares immediately.
CostsIPOs can be expensive due to underwriting fees, legal costs, and other associated expenses.Direct listings are generally less costly as they avoid underwriting fees.
Share DilutionNew shares are issued, which can dilute existing shareholders’ equity.No new shares are issued, so there’s no dilution of existing shareholders’ equity.

Investing in IPOs: Risks and Rewards

Investing in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) can be thrilling, allowing investors to participate in a company’s growth from the ground level. However, like all investments, IPOs come with their own set of risks and rewards.

Potential Rewards of IPO Investments

One of the primary attractions of investing in IPOs is the potential for significant returns. If the company performs well post-IPO, early investors may see a substantial appreciation in the value of their shares. 

Additionally, investing in an IPO allows individuals to become part owners of a company at the onset of its public journey, which can be both exciting and financially rewarding.

Risks Associated with IPO Investments

Despite the allure of potentially high returns, IPO investments are not without risk. A newly public company may fail to meet investor expectations or struggle with the increased regulatory scrutiny of being a public entity. 

The lack of historical market data can also make it difficult to assess the company’s value accurately, increasing the risk of overpaying for shares.

Factors to Consider When Investing in IPOs

Investing in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) can be an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a company’s growth. However, like all investments, it’s crucial to consider several factors before diving in.

Understanding the Company

Before investing in an IPO, you must thoroughly understand the company. This involves researching its business model, industry position, competitive landscape, and growth prospects. Assessing the company’s management team is also essential, as strong leadership is often a key driver of success.

Reviewing the Prospectus

The prospectus is a document a company releases before its IPO, providing detailed information about its financial performance, business operations, and future plans. By carefully reviewing this document, investors can gain valuable insights into the company and make a more informed investment decision.

Evaluating Financial Performance

A company’s financial performance is critical to consider when investing in an IPO. This involves analyzing key financial indicators such as revenue, profitability, cash flow, and debt levels. A strong financial position often suggests a higher likelihood of future success.

Assessing the IPO Price

The IPO price is the cost per share at which the company’s stock will be initially offered to the public. Given its financial performance and growth prospects, evaluating whether this price represents fair value for the company is important.

Market Conditions

Market conditions can significantly impact the performance of an IPO. During a bullish market, IPOs tend to perform well with positive investor sentiment. Conversely, IPOs may struggle during bearish markets due to negative investor sentiment.


While investing in IPOs can offer high potential returns, it’s important to remember the principle of diversification. Investing all your money in a single IPO can be risky, so it’s usually advisable to spread your investments across various assets.

Risk Tolerance

Finally, it’s crucial to consider your personal risk tolerance when investing in IPOs. IPOs can be volatile and unpredictable, so they may not be suitable for conservative investors seeking stable returns. Always ensure that you utilize your strategies, such as understanding indices or fundamental and technical analysis. 

Final Thoughts — What is IPO in Stock Market?

IPOs represent an exciting aspect of the stock market, offering opportunities for companies to grow and for investors and even traders to potentially make profits. However, they also involve significant risks. 

Understanding the IPO process, the role of various participants, and the risks involved is key to making informed investment decisions. Remember, investing in the stock market should always be done based on thorough research and consideration.

FAQs — What is IPO in Stock Market?

Why do companies go public?

Companies go public to raise capital. The funds raised from an IPO can be used to invest in new projects, pay off existing debt, or expand business operations. Going public also increases a company’s visibility and credibility in the market.

Who can buy shares in an IPO?

Both institutional and individual investors can buy shares in an IPO. However, a portion of the shares is often reserved for large institutional investors, such as mutual funds and pension funds.

How is the price of an IPO share determined?

The underwriting investment bank determines the price of an IPO share. The bank considers the company’s financial health, market conditions, and investor demand.

Can a company go back to being private after an IPO?

Yes, a company can return to being private after an IPO through a “take-private” deal. This usually involves a private equity firm, a group of investors, or the company’s management buying out most of the company’s shares.

What is a ‘lock-up’ period in an IPO?

A lock-up period is a contractual restriction preventing insiders who already have shares, like employees or early investors, from selling their shares for a certain period after the IPO. This is usually done to prevent the market from being flooded with too many company stock shares.

What is book building in an IPO?

Book building is a process of determining the price at which an IPO will be offered. Potential investors are asked how many shares they would like and at what price, helping to gauge demand and set an appropriate price for the IPO.

What is a red herring prospectus?

As part of the IPO process, a company files a preliminary document called a red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It includes information about the company and its business but does not list the number of shares to be issued or the price range for the IPO.

What is oversubscription in an IPO?

Oversubscription occurs when the demand for shares in an IPO exceeds the number of shares available. In such cases, the shares are usually allocated on a pro-rata basis.

What is the greenshoe option in an IPO?

A greenshoe option allows underwriters to buy up to an additional 15% of shares at the offering price for a certain period after the IPO. This helps stabilize the share price by allowing the underwriters to sell more shares if demand is high or buy back shares if demand is low.

Can I sell my shares immediately after an IPO?

Yes, you can sell your shares immediately after an IPO unless you are subject to a lock-up period. However, it’s important to note that the price may be volatile immediately after the IPO.

What is listing gain in an IPO?

Listing gain refers to the rise in the price of a newly listed stock above its issued price. If the stock price on the day of the listing is higher than the issue price, investors who got the shares in the IPO make a listing gain.

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