Back to the Origins of the Initial Public Offerings Price Range: Underwriter-Funds Network and Information Production Timeline

  •  Camilla Mazzoli    
  •  Claudia Pigini    
  •  Sabrina Severini    


Although the initial price range in U.S. Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) is constrained by SEC regulations, a non-negligible percentage of IPO price ranges falls outside the ‘safe harbour’. We investigate how the price range - which sends the very first signals on the IPO quality to the market - is set in the due diligence phase, with special attention to unexplored networking patterns between underwriters and institutional investors. By making use of a Mixture Model applied to 1,246 US firms listed between 2004 and 2016, we show that underwriters that are centrally positioned in their network of regular investors are more likely to set a price range that is compliant with SEC guidelines. We argue that the flexibility resulting from being safe harbour-compliant allows underwriters to preserve their reputation for fair dealing with issuers by exploiting a dumping ground proviso or quid pro quo agreements with their network funds. Despite information produced by network funds in the due diligence step having no significant effect on the width of the price range, in our study, we provide evidence that the range does serve as a proxy of the uncertainty of the listing firms.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.