Another Look at Bookbuilding, Auctions, and the Future of the IPO Process

Morrison, Alan, Wilhelm, William and Chen, Zhaohui (2014) Another Look at Bookbuilding, Auctions, and the Future of the IPO Process. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 26 (2). pp. 19-29.


In an earlier series of articles published in this journal, one of the three authors of this article predicted the rise of auction IPOs, possibly to the point of displacing the traditional bookbuilding process for pricing and allocating IPOs, only to find himself forced to explain in later articles the continuing preference of issuers for the conventional IPO process. In a 1999 article, for example, this author cited WR Hambrecht as posing a serious challenge to bookbuilding. And in a 2005 article, shortly after Google used an auction for its IPO, he suggested that the time was ripe for change. In this article the authors revisit the debate, taken up most recently in a 2012 exchange between Congressman Darrell Issa and the SEC. They begin by discussing why bookbuilding persists before focusing on several recent developments that could undermine the case for bookbuilding. The authors point out that bookbuilding rests on banks' discretion in allocating IPO shares and, critically, on both issuers and investors trusting that it will be deployed appropriately. After discussing developments that have undermined trust in the financial markets, the authors suggest that, when combined with recent regulatory changes intended to streamline public offerings by small firms, such changes have created opportunities for auctions to gain traction in the U.S. IPO market.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: investment; information technology; finance
Subject(s): Finance
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2015 08:14
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2017 10:34
Funders: not applicable

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