Initial Public Offerings

Initial Public Offerings in the United States

Legal Materials

There are four main sources for IPO information: SEC filings; Thompson Financial Securities Data; news; and analyst reports.

SEC Filings: Companies about to do an IPO must file an S-1 registration and a Prospectus with the SEC.

You can pull S-1 filings for free with the SEC’s EDGAR Company Search, and you can search for S-1s from the past four years for free with the Advanced Full-Text Search. For better searching, use one of the commercial SEC research systems discussed in the Filings section of the “Securities and Exchange Commission” entry.

Note: There is lots of information in an S-1, but companies generally try to be as vague as they think the SEC will let them get away with.

IPO Research Services: You can do basic IPO research for free using EDGARonline’sInitial Public Offering (IPO) Search, but make sure the years you need are covered. Subscription services include Lexis Securities Mosaic, Capital IQ and Thomson ONE (formerly SDC Platinum and the and Global New Issues database). You can also place an order for IPO research request by calling ThomsonReuters’s Customer Support Line (888-989-8373).

News & Related Information: Hoover’s IPO Central provides lots of information on IPOs, including data on recent IPOs and filings (with a 24-hour delay, unless you are a paying customer). Also check out Yahoo!’s Recent IPO News.

Analyst Reports: Brokerage houses issue reports on IPO companies (to get these reports, see “Analyst Reports”). However, you will not find reports issued while the IPO underway because the SEC prohibits brokers from commenting on IPOs from the time of filing until a month after the IPO is completed.

Treatises: Treatises discussing the practical and legal aspect of IPOs include

Initial Public Offerings: A Practical Guide to Going Public (PLI; more info here) and the

How to Prepare an Initial Public Offering (PLI), from the Corporate and Securities Course Handbook series. Venture Capital & Public Offering Negotiation (Aspen) covers how to take a Portfolio Company (i.e., a company receiving venture capital funding) public.

See Also

Analyst Reports
Company Information
Proxy Statements
Securities and Exchange Commission
Stock Prices
Securities Laws

Initial Public Offerings: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Initial Public Offerings. This part provides references, in relation to Initial Public Offerings, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Initial Public Offerings by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Initial Public Offerings and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Initial Public Offerings or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Initial Public Offerings and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Initial Public Offerings. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Initial Public Offerings should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Initial Public Offerings when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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