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Why Do IPO Auctions Fail?

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  • Ravi Jagannathan
  • Ann E. Sherman

Abstract

We document a somewhat surprising regularity: of the many countries that have used IPO auctions, virtually all have abandoned them. The common explanations given for the lack of popularity of the auction method in the US, viz., issuer reluctance to try a new experimental method, and underwriter pressure towards methods that lead to higher fees, do not fit the evidence. We examine why auctions have failed and verify, to the extent possible, that they are consistent with what academic theory predicts. Both uniform price and discriminatory auctions are plagued by unexpectedly large fluctuations in the number of participants. The free rider problem and the winner's curse hamper price discovery and discourage investors from participating in auctions. Calculating the optimal bids in large multi-unit common value auctions with endogenous entry imposes a huge computational burden. With IPOs taking place sporadically, and each firm being different, auctions are likely to end up being unstable.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravi Jagannathan & Ann E. Sherman, 2006. "Why Do IPO Auctions Fail?," NBER Working Papers 12151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12151
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    Cited by:

    1. Audra L. Boone & J. Harold Mulherin, 2009. "Is There One Best Way to Sell a Company? Auctions Versus Negotiations and Controlled Sales-super-1," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 21(3), pages 28-37.
    2. C. Hopp & A. Dreher, 2013. "Do differences in institutional and legal environments explain cross-country variations in IPO underpricing?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 435-454, February.
    3. Kuntara Pukthuanthong & Nikhil P. Varaiya & Thomas J. Walker, 2007. "Bookbuilding versus auction selling methods: A study of US IPOs," Venture Capital, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(4), pages 311-345, May.
    4. Ping Zhang, 2009. "Characterization of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Uniform Price IPO Auctions," Discussion Papers 2009-05, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    5. Ulrike Malmendier & Young Han Lee, 2011. "The Bidder's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 749-787, April.
    6. Chiang, Yao-Min & Hirshleifer, David & Qian, Yiming & Sherman, Ann, 2009. "Learning to Fail? Evidence from Frequent IPO Investors," MPRA Paper 16854, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Aug 2009.
    7. Joseph K. W. Fung & Sanry Y. S. Che, 2009. "Initial Day Return and Underpricing Cost in Advance Payment Initial Public Offerings," Working Papers 352009, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
    8. repec:eee:finlet:v:22:y:2017:i:c:p:11-19 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Adriani, Fabrizio & Deidda, Luca & Sonderegger, Silvia, 2009. "The Role of Financial Intermediaries in Securities Issues: A Theoretical Analysis," MPRA Paper 16112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Pettway, Richard H. & Thosar, Satish & Walker, Scott, 2008. "Auctions versus book-built IPOs in Japan: A comparison of aftermarket volatility," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 224-235, June.
    11. Ping Zhang, 2009. "Characterization of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Uniform Price IPO Auctions," Discussion Papers 2009-05, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    12. Habib, Michel A. & Ziegler, Alexandre, 2007. "Why government bonds are sold by auction and corporate bonds by posted-price selling," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 343-367, July.
    13. Trauten, Andreas & Langer, Thomas, 2007. "Information production and bidding in IPOs: An experimental analysis of auctions and fixed-price offerings," Working Papers 50, University of Münster, Competence Center Internet Economy and Hybrid Systems, European Research Center for Information Systems (ERCIS).

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    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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