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Why Has IPO Underpricing Changed over Time?

Tim Loughran and Jay Ritter
Financial Management
Vol. 33, No. 3 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 5-37
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Financial Management Association International
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3666262
Page Count: 33
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Why Has IPO Underpricing Changed over Time?
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Abstract

In the 1980s, the average first-day return on initial public offerings (IPOs) was 7%. The average first-day return doubled to almost 15% during 1990-1998, before jumping to 65% during the internet bubble years of 1999-2000 and then reverting to 12% during 2001-2003. We attribute much of the higher underpricing during the bubble period to a changing issuer objective function. We argue that in the later periods there was less focus on maximizing IPO proceeds due to an increased emphasis on research coverage. Furthermore, allocations of hot IPOs to the personal brokerage accounts of issuing firm executives created an incentive to seek rather than avoid underwriters with a reputation for severe underpricing.

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