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IPO Pricing in the Dot-com Bubble

Alexander Ljungqvist, William J. Wilhelm


IPO initial returns reached astronomical levels during 1999-2000. We show that the regime shift in initial returns and other elements of pricing behavior can be at least partially accounted for by a variety of marked changes in pre-IPO ownership structure and insider selling behavior over the period, which reduced key decision-makers' incentives to control underpricing. After controlling for these changes, the difference in underpricing between 1999-2000 and the preceding three years is much reduced. Our results suggest that it was firm characteristics that were unique during the "dot-com bubble" and that pricing behavior followed from incentives created by these characteristics.

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