Going public is a monumental decision for any company. It forever changes how a company goes about doing business.
An initial public offering (IPO) is a transformational event, requiring many different parts of the business to work together toward a common goal. There will be multiple workstreams, from drafting the registration statement to preparing and auditing financial information, legal and tax structuring, creating new governance structures, developing the equity story, selecting underwriters and research analysts, providing input into valuation, identifying and educating key investors, preparing for the roadshow, and readying the organization for life as a public company.
What Is An Initial Public Offering (IPO)?
Going public is the process of offering securities – generally common stock of a privately owned company for sale to the general public. The first time these securities are offered is referred to as an initial public offering or IPO.
Deciding Whether To Go Public
Your decision to go public should follow from your longer-term strategic objectives – seeking opportunities for growth, value creation, or an exit strategy. Companies need to objectively assess their readiness for life as a public company. Going public requires management to be prepared to meet shareholder and market expectations from day one. This includes addressing ongoing compliance and regulatory requirements, operational effectiveness, risk management, periodic reporting, and investor relations.
Going public provides opportunities for growth and extension of the business by offering a wider range of sources to raise capital. It increases your company’s equity base and creates more leverage for financing growth.
Understanding The Initial Public Offering Process
Determining filler status
Filler status determines reporting requirements, during both the going public process and in life as a public company. Filler status should be assessed continuously throughout the going public process and at the end of the second quarter of the fiscal year for public companies.
Preparing to become a public company
A successful IPO requires careful planning. A company must prepare its management team and business units to begin acting and functioning as a public company, both internally and externally. Focusing narrowly on accounting and financial reporting matters surrounding the preparation of the offering document is the wrong approach – a cross-functional, holistic view to readiness is critical to preparing the organization to operate as a public company.
Planning, executing, and managing an IPO is a complex task for any organization. The better prepared a company is, the more efficient and less costly the process can be.
The preparation process can often be lengthy, depending on the maturity of a company’s existing processes. It is vital that the company understands and address any gaps before going public.
Common accounting and financing reporting issues
There are many accounting and financial reporting disclosure issues to address with an IPO, including matters related to financial statements, taxation, compensation, and complex technical accounting areas. The key is to get in front of these issues well in advance of the registration process so that they will not impede becoming a public company.
Creating a going public team
A company needs expert direction and assistance to stage a successful IPO. A successful IPO requires advisors who have “been there and done that.”
By appointing key advisors early, management is freed up to focus on the marketing phase of the IPO, where it can add the most value. Management will also be able to anticipate issues and avoid untimely delays, preserving the value of the IPO and enhancing the market’s confidence in management, while at the same time protecting the company’s brand equity.
Preparing the registration statement
Preparing and filing the registration statement is a relatively complicated, time-consuming, technical process requiring substantial planning and coordination. It involves providing the information specified by the CMA form and complying with the applicable regulator rules in the most efficient manner possible. It requires a great deal of effort by the management team, lawyers, and independent accountants to describe a company as accurately and positively as possible, while also disclosing any negative risk factors.
Navigating the IPO process
The most successful IPOs are launched by those businesses that operate as though they were public companies well in advance of their actual IPO. These businesses have a relatively smooth process of going public and they quickly transition to life as public companies.
The IPO is not the end of the story – it is only the beginning. Once listed, a company will be under far greater public scrutiny and will have a range of continuing obligations. Any weakness in systems or failure to comply with regulations could publicly damage the company’s reputation and potentially result in criminal and civil liability. The benefits of careful preparation and planning are realized within the first year of the IPO.
Developing a proactive and ongoing investor relations strategy is a critical component in sustaining an active aftermarket interest in your company.
The Value Sager Investor Relations Company Brings
Public companies must proactively manage their reputations by communicating regularly with investors, analysts, and the financial media. Regular communication will help them maintain a positive image and make sure their story is being told accurately. The public’s perception of a company has a direct effect on the value of its stock.
Here at Sager IR, we understand that it is vital that your company and your senior people receive the very best support and advice in order to navigate the IPO journey and present your best possible face to the market. We provide actionable insights into the latest technical accounting and financial reporting developments.
We work as an integrated part of your team to provide you with the right level of assistance to complement your existing skills and resources. Our support will enable the CFO and your IPO team to focus on the essentials – such as developing the strategy as a listed company and communicating the value of the business – as well as maintaining the day-to-day focus on running the business.
Many IPOs are delayed or fail because a company underestimates the amount of work required. Our comprehensive IPO services bring together an integrated set of solutions to help companies as they prepare for the public markets.
We can help you undertake an efficient and professional IPO process, our people being singularly focussed on achieving a smooth transaction.
When you are pursuing an IPO, having an advisor with the right experience and insight can make a difference in helping you achieve your objectives. You need to be ready when the capital market window opens. We can help the “going public” and “being public” processes stay on track.
Make sure you have the right executive team with experience in IPOs and diverse backgrounds. Choose first-class advisors and get everything very thoroughly planned.