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Initial uncertainty and the risk of setting a fixed-offer price: Implications for the pricing of bookbuilt and best-efforts IPOs

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  • Jones, Steven L.
  • Yeoman, John C.

Abstract

We model the risk of setting the required fixed-offer price in an IPO given initial uncertainty about value, as well as costs of over and underpricing. Assuming that the goal of issuers in bookbuilt IPOs is to maximize net offering proceeds, our analysis indicates that their optimal strategy is to negotiate a relatively small spread, consistent with material underpricing. Similarly, considering the expected costs of overpricing makes the underpricing of best-efforts IPOs in the interest of issuers. Our results rely on neither asymmetric information nor agency costs and provide support for Hansen's (2001) nearly-optimal “conventional” spread and the view that it evolved from adaptive, imitative behavior, consistent with Alchian's (1950) explanation of how economic players evolve practices to survive under uncertainty and incomplete information, as well as Alchian's (1969) work on how fixed prices and queues can efficiently clear product markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Jones, Steven L. & Yeoman, John C., 2014. "Initial uncertainty and the risk of setting a fixed-offer price: Implications for the pricing of bookbuilt and best-efforts IPOs," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 194-215.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:27:y:2014:i:c:p:194-215
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2014.05.006
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    Keywords

    Armen Alchian; Initial public offering; Underpricing; Investment banking;

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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