We compare initial offer prices in privatizations to initial prices in public offerings of private companies. The evidence indicates that government officials in the United Kingdom underprice IPOs significantly more than their private company counterparts. In Canada and Malaysia, however, the opposite is true. There does not appear to be a general tendency for privatizations to be underpriced to a greater degree than private company IPOs. We provide additional evidence on the determinants of privatization initial returns. Our findings indicate that initial returns are significantly higher in relatively primitive capital markets and for privatized companies in regulated industries.
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