Public Firms

What are they?

When a private firm decides that it wishes to raise capital from a wide range of investors, it may decide to go public. This means that it will sell its securities to the general public and allow those investors to freely trade those shares in established securities markets. The first issue of shares to the general public is called the firm’s initial public offering (IPO). Later, the firm may go back to the public and issue additional shares. A seasoned equity offering is the sale of additional shares in firms that already are publicly traded. For example, a sale by Apple of new shares of stock would be considered a seasoned new issue.

How do private firms undergo the process of going public?

Public offerings of both stocks and bonds typically are marketed by investment bankers who in this role are called underwriters. More than one investment banker usually markets the securities. A lead firm forms an underwriting syndicate of other investment bankers to share the responsibility for the stock issue.

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