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Why are IPOs still attractive : A comparison between going public or staying private

by Eriksson, Jens; Geijer, Carl

Abstract (Summary)
Background: During the last two years, Swedish Private Equity (PE) companies have increased their investments significantly. Easy access to capital, as well as inexpensive leverage, has led to an increase in activity of PE buy-outs of market leaders with strong cash flow. The competition for objects that are for sale has amplified, which has resulted in price increases of the objects. The higher prices offered by the PE companies also affects the number of initial public offerings (IPO) on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. One reason for the small number of current IPOs is that the objects simply have been valued higher by PE companies than they would do in an IPO.Purpose: The purpose with this thesis is, from a shareholder’s point of view, to analyze and describe the reasons of making an IPO instead of selling to a PE company.Methodology: Since the research is based on gathering and understanding information regarding specific persons’ choices and motives, a qualitative approach has been conducted. The research sample contains of all companies that made an IPO on the Stockholm Stock Exchange between 1 January 2005 and 1 April 2006. Interviews have been made with each company’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, since the authors believe that these individuals are the ultimate shareholder rep-resentatives. The interviewees were allowed to speak freely, even though the major questions had to be followed in a chronological order.Conclusion: All the main motives of the IPO could have been achieved by selling to PE company, except the motive of attaining share liquidity. One of the attractive reasons for share liquidity is that shareholders easily can choose between reducing ownership, increasing ownership or remain with existing shares. Another attractive reason is that financial institutions normally become share-holders, which in turn increases the credibility of the company. Eight out of the ten companies had parallel plans to the IPO; most of them including a possible PE buy-out scenario. However, no PE company offered a price high enough for the individual companies. Either the existing owners received a better IPO price, or the remaining owners believed that the stock exchange would out-perform the PE price offers in the long-run. Theory means that buy-out has got its advantages compared to IPO, but the empirical findings show that the alternatives were on the contrary quite similar. The single advantage with a possible buy-out was that it would demand less, or at most equal, work load in terms of preparation before the sale. However, the negative part with the IPO was that it was considered expensive as well as it took energy and distraction of focus it took from the management team.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:finance initial public offering ipo private equity buy out

ISBN:

Date of Publication:06/15/2006

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