Based on the authors' recent study published in the Journal of Financial Economics, this article summarizes new evidence on the first-day and aftermarket price performance of a firm's first public offer of bonds after its equity IPO. Unlike equity IPOs, such bond IPOs are not underpriced on average. However, bonds that are more equity-like (junk bonds) are underpriced at the initial offer whereas high-grade debt is actually overpriced. This finding supports the view that riskier debt issues have a larger equity component and, as a consequence, a higher degree of information asymmetry.
The authors' study also showed that less prestigious underwriters are associated with more underpriced offers, and that the issuer's stock market listing plays an important role in determining the first-day price performance of bond IPOs. The degree of underpricing is lower for bonds issued by firms whose equity is listed on NYSE/AMEX than for bonds issued by firms listed on Nasdaq. Finally, the aftermarket performance for the full sample and various subsamples is consistent with bond market efficiency in the sense that, once prices adjust after the first day of trading, there are no clearly exploitable opportunities for excess returns.