Lowballing for 'Pop': The Case of Internet IPO Underpricing
28 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2001
Date Written: January 2001
Three explanations are commonly offered for the unprecedented levels of underpricing in recent IPOs by Internet firms: (1) media hype drives underpricing; (2) Internet firms leave money on the table to be able to follow up underpriced IPOs with follow on financing offers; and (3) underpricing is a branding event designed to increase consumer awareness of the Internet company. We examine the relation between the extent of Internet IPO underpricing and proxies to test the three explanations. We measure media hype as the extent of media exposure pre IPO. The desire to return to the market is proxied by the rate at which the firm burns through its IPO offer proceeds on operating and investing activities. Proxies for branding include whether the firm is a Business to Consumer company (B2C) and the extent of revenue increase post IPO. Results indicate that media hype and the desire to return to the capital market are strongly associated with Internet IPO underpricing. Although underpricing is higher for B2C firms, sales increases post IPO are not significantly related to the extent of underpricing. Finally, there is at best weak evidence to suggest that post offer return performance is worse for Internet IPOs with greater underpricing.
JEL Classification: M41, G12, G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation