An initial public offering (IPO) happens when shares of a previously private company are offered to the public on a stock exchange. This is part of a new stock issuance. A company that is planning an IPO will select underwriters to manage their financial risk, and chooses a in which to feature their newly public shares. When the company goes public, the private shareholders’ shares will value at the same price as the public share. These are usually a higher value and therefore, they will profit from the relative returns that were expected.
In general, companies can register for an upcoming IPO after reaching a market capitalisation of $1bn, which is the same for a ‘unicorn company’. However, as long as the business can meet the listing requirements for a specific market and prove their potential for future profit, they can also qualify for an IPO.
Alternatively, an increasing number of businesses are choosing to use a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) as it may offer a slightly cheaper and quicker process. See our list of upcoming SPAC mergers to watch >