Moving From Private to Public Ownership: Selling Out to Public Firms vs. Initial Public Offerings
Annette B. Poulsen
University of Georgia - Department of Banking and Finance
AFA 2006 Boston Meetings
We study the movement of assets from private to public ownership through two alternative means: the acquisition of private companies by firms that are public (sellouts) or by initial public share offerings (IPOs). We consider firm-specific characteristics for 1,074 IPOs and 735 sellouts from 1995 through 2004 to identify differences in growth, capital constraints and asymmetric information between the two types of transactions. Our results suggest that firms move to public ownership through an IPO when they have greater growth opportunities, more capital constraints and are easier to value. Previous analyses of U.S. companies have focused on broad aggregate and industry-level trends while our work allows a better understanding of the firm-specific characteristics leading to firms choosing to go public through an IPO and the costs of accessing the public capital markets.
Keywords: initial public offerings, sellouts, going public, acquisitions
JEL Classification: G34, G32working papers series
Date posted: March 25, 2005
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