Product Market Advertising and Initial Public Offerings: Theory and Empirical Evidence
49 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2004
Date Written: March 15, 2004
Practitioners have noted that firms tend to increase their product market advertising prior to an IPO or a seasoned equity issue. Further, recent empirical evidence indicates that firms with a greater level of product market advertising have lower bid-ask spreads and a larger number of both individual and institutional investors in their equity. We develop a theoretical model of the interaction between a firm's product market advertising and its corporate financing decisions in the above context. We consider a firm which faces asymmetric information in both the product and the financial market (about the quality of its products and the intrinsic value of its projects) and which needs to raise external financing to fund its growth opportunity (new project). Any product market advertising undertaken by the firm is visible in the financial market as well. We show that, in equilibrium, the firm uses a combination of product market advertising, IPO underpricing, and underfinancing (raising a smaller amount of external capital than the full information optimum) to convey its true product quality and the intrinsic value of its projects to consumers and investors. Our model has several implications for IPO underpricing and product market advertising. Two of these predictions are as follows. First, firms will choose a higher level of product market advertising when they are planning to issue new equity or other information-sensitive securities, compared to situations where they have no immediate plans to sell such securities. Second, product market advertising and IPO underpricing are substitutes for a firm going public. The empirical evidence supports these two predictions: First, firms indeed increase their product market advertising in their IPO year relative to a benchmark year two years before their IPO. Further, we find that, in the five-year span around the IPO year (i.e., the IPO year, and the two years before and after the IPO year), the peak advertising level is reached in the IPO year. Second, the extent of underpricing is smaller as the level of product market advertising is greater.
Keywords: Initial public offerings, advertising
JEL Classification: G3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation