IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Going public - going private: The case of VC-backed firms


  • Gill, Andrej
  • Walz, Uwe


We investigate the decisions of listed firms to go private once again. We start by revealing that while a significant number of firms which go public is VC-backed, an overproportional share of these VC-backed firms go private later on (they stay on the exchange for an average of 8.5 years). We interpret this very robust pattern such that IPOs of VC-backed firms are to a large extent a temporary rather than a permanent feature of the corporate governance of these firms. We investigate various potential hypotheses why VCs actually seem to be able to bring marginal firms to the exchange by relating the going-private decisions to various characteristics of the IPO market as well as to VC characteristics. We find strong support for the certification ability of VCs: more experienced and reputable VCs are more able to bring marginal firms to public exchanges via an IPOs. These marginal firms backed-by more reputable and experienced VCs are more likely to go private later on. Hence, our analysis suggests that IPOs backed by experienced VCs are most likely to be a temporary rather than the final stage in the life of the portfolio firm. We find no support that reputable VCs underprice their IPO-exits more implying that they have no need to leave more money on the table to take the marginal firms public.

Suggested Citation

  • Gill, Andrej & Walz, Uwe, 2012. "Going public - going private: The case of VC-backed firms," CFS Working Paper Series 2012/02, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:201202

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ritter, Jay R, 1984. "The "Hot Issue" Market of 1980," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 215-240, April.
    2. Mark Grinblatt & Chuan Yang Hwang, "undated". "Signalling and the Pricing of Unseasoned New Issues," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 1-89, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    3. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "The risk and return of venture capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 3-52, January.
    4. Lin, Timothy H. & Smith, Richard L., 1998. "Insider reputation and selling decisions: the unwinding of venture capital investments during equity IPOs," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 241-263, September.
    5. Hamid Mehran & Stavros Peristiani, 2010. "Financial Visibility and the Decision to Go Private," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(2), pages 519-547, February.
    6. Nahata, Rajarishi, 2008. "Venture capital reputation and investment performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 127-151, November.
    7. Barry, Christopher B. & Muscarella, Chris J. & Peavy, John III & Vetsuypens, Michael R., 1990. "The role of venture capital in the creation of public companies*1: Evidence from the going-public process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 447-471, October.
    8. Giot, Pierre & Schwienbacher, Armin, 2007. "IPOs, trade sales and liquidations: Modelling venture capital exits using survival analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 679-702, March.
    9. Grinblatt, Mark & Hwang, Chuan Yang, 1989. " Signalling and the Pricing of New Issues," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 393-420, June.
    10. Black, Bernard S. & Gilson, Ronald J., 1998. "Venture capital and the structure of capital markets: banks versus stock markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 243-277, March.
    11. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Exit Options in Corporate Finance: Liquidity versus Incentives," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 327-353.
    12. Jeng, Leslie A. & Wells, Philippe C., 2000. "The determinants of venture capital funding: evidence across countries," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 241-289, September.
    13. Thomas J. Chemmanur & Shan He & Debarshi K. Nandy, 2010. "The Going-Public Decision and the Product Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(5), pages 1855-1908.
    14. Douglas Cumming, 2008. "Contracts and Exits in Venture Capital Finance," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(5), pages 1947-1982, September.
    15. Luigi Zingales, 1995. "Insider Ownership and the Decision to Go Public," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 425-448.
    16. Cumming, Douglas & Johan, Sofia Atiqah binti, 2008. "Preplanned exit strategies in venture capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1209-1241, October.
    17. Gompers, Paul A., 1996. "Grandstanding in the venture capital industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 133-156, September.
    18. Lerner, Joshua, 1994. "Venture capitalists and the decision to go public," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 293-316, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Going-private decisions; VC-backed IPOs; corporate governance;

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:201202. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.