Attracting Attention in an IPO
54 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2006 Last revised: 29 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 27, 2017
Recent research indicates that attracting pre-offer investor attention yields long-term benefits to an initial public offering (IPO) issuer. For investors with limited attention, we model a way in which firms may attract attention: through underpricing their IPO, and using the expected allocations of underpriced shares to induce investors to attend the road show and consider the offering. Consistent with our model, we show that our measure of attention, a simple count of news articles mentioning a company’s name in the last week pre-IPO, is positively related to both price revision and initial return for the company’s stock. One extra piece of media coverage in the last week before the IPO is associated with a 2.2% greater initial return (4.0%, if the offer price is revised upwards). The positive relationship between media coverage and underpricing is asymmetric, and is stronger when ex ante uncertainty is greater. Overall, our model generates a novel set of predictions regarding the relationship between initial returns and media, retention, expansion and the benefits of attention, plus the asymmetry of the relationship with media. Our model explains the relative unpopularity of grey market or when-issued trading before IPOs and predicts that, even if the JOBS Act leads to more active pre-IPO trading in the US (for example, through equity crowdfunding or crowdinvesting), underpricing will still occur.
Keywords: Limited attention, initial public offerings, investor attention, IPO underpricing, JOBS Act, pre-IPO trading, equity crowdfunding, crowdinvesting.
JEL Classification: G32, G24, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation