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ABSTRACT

I consider the underpricing of initial public offerings (IPOs) and the wealth transfers implicit in that underpricing. I find that initial returns properly measure the “issue cost” effect of underpricing as a fraction of offer size, as in Ritter (1987). I present a measure of the wealth effect of underpricing per share retained. In general, the wealth effects on existing shareholders depend on the extent to which they participate in the offering. From the perspective of issuer's wealth, I find that Dawson's (1987) measure is appropriate only in the special case in which all of the prior owners' shares are sold in the IPO.