Direct Listing Vs IPO: What Is The Difference?

direct listing vs ipo

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direct listing vs ipo

Both a direct listing and an IPO are ways that private companies enter public trading markets. A direct listing, sometimes called a direct public offering (DPO), is a way to abbreviate the normal IPO process for certain companies, provided they meet certain qualifications. There are implications to both the company and to investors for companies that elect to go the direct listing route. The traditional initial public offering (IPO) model has been disrupted by the emergence of direct listings, in which a company starts selling shares directly to the public.

Why might a company choose direct listings over traditional IPOs?

It began trading on the New York Stock Exchange as Spotify (SPOT) on April 3, 2018. The opening price jumped to $165.90, 27% higher than the NYSE reference price. It fluctuated wildly that day and closed at $149.01 per share, still above the reference price but below the opening price. Investors that are able to obtain IPO shares on the offering will thus be getting those shares at a given price the underwriters have determined to be attractive. Direct listing shares have no specified price and will trade wherever the market sets the price.

If you’re looking at investing in newly public companies, another popular option is buying a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Also known as “blank-check companies,” SPACs have cash and are looking to buy a stake in a business and take it public. Many have seen massive declines in recent years, however, and investors often view them with suspicion. The greenshoe option is a provision in an underwriting agreement that grants the underwriter the right to sell investors more shares than originally planned by the issuer if the demand proves particularly strong. Subject to compliance with federal and state securities laws, a company may sell its shares to the public using a variety of methods. U.S. Treasuries (“T-Bill”) investing services on the Public Platform are offered by Jiko Securities, Inc. (“JSI”), a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA & SIPC.

Tips for Investors

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  • A popular example of a company that went public via a direct listing is Spotify.
  • Please consult a legal or tax advisor for the most recent changes to the U.S. tax code and for rollover eligibility rules.
  • In a direct listing, however, the share prices depend solely on supply and demand at the time of listing.
  • Most importantly, be sure to review the company’s prospectus before considering a direct listing opportunity.
  • IPOs, conversely, are better for the majority of companies, particularly those looking to raise capital or lock in a pool of investors.

Direct listings present most of the same risks to the investor as traditional IPOs. Significant amounts of money are also saved in a direct listing by not having to pay IPO fees to investment banks – in part due to the shorter, more efficient process. Each method offers advantages to the companies going public, but their relative benefits to investors are less clear.

IPO vs. Direct Listing: What’s the Difference?

In a direct listing, the company will file an S-1 Registration Statement, which includes a prospectus on the company and other detailed disclosures. Many mature companies who have raised capital using exempt offerings in the private markets elect to “go public,” such as through a registered offering, either to raise additional capital, in response to investor calls for liquidity, or both. Companies have multiple pathways to becoming a public company under current securities laws, three of which are outlined below. While alternative pathways to IPOs, including SPACs and direct listings, have become popular in recent years, many factors play into which pathway a company chooses. A direct listing is a process through which a company’s shares become publicly traded without going through a formal IPO. In a direct listing, the company does not issue any new shares and doesn’t hire an investment bank to underwrite or promote the deal.

When you enable T-Bill investing on the Public platform, you open a separate brokerage account with JSI (the “Treasury Account”). Because there’s no lockup period, the stock holds greater potential of experiencing volatility early on. No other global exchange has this combination, which uniquely positions the NYSE to execute Direct Listings and continue to drive innovation in the capital markets. The NYSE is the only exchange to provide a Designated Market Maker to minimize volatility and discover market demand price assessment with unparalleled precision.

direct listing vs ipo

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How does a DPO work?

The role of an intermediary (i.e., an underwriter) in a traditional IPO is to act as the middleman between a private company and the investing public. Generally, the underwriter does the due diligence to determine the IPO stock price, mint new shares of a company, and facilitate stock sales before the IPO date. Consequently, underwriters can be a costly component of the going-public process.

The underwriters work with the company’s management and shareholders to determine an appropriate IPO share price that will be attractive to investors while representing a fair value, given the company’s assets and future prospects. Underwriters also agree to support that price with their own capital by purchasing shares in the IPO themselves if need be. The underwriters will also work with one or more broker-dealers to assist in promoting and distributing the shares.

What makes the NYSE uniquely suited to Direct Listings?

Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it will allow companies to raise capital through direct listings, paving the way for circumvention of the traditional initial public offering (IPO) process. In a direct listing, a company floats its shares on an exchange without hiring investment banks to underwrite the transaction as an initial public offering. There are several benefits of a direct listing that attract companies to the process. First, by going public the company provides liquidity for existing shareholders by allowing them to freely sell their shares in the public market.

In today’s world, businesses need even more flexibility and transparency to meet evolving customer, talent and market demands. Going public is a powerfully effective solution to meet those needs but companies no longer need to view an IPO as their only path to public. Whether a company pursues a traditional IPO or a direct listing, they must file an S-1 with the U.S. When a company directly lists on the open market, there are no eligibility requirements or forms to fill out. The only requirement is to have sufficient capital in your account to purchase stock. Traditional IPOs may need to come to market to create some positive data points regarding valuations, execution and trading before we see the next DL.

While an IPO is the traditional way companies have gone public in the past, DPOs are increasing in awareness and popularity as large companies like Spotify have chosen to go public this way. Initial public offerings, or IPOs, are a well-traveled road that many companies use to sell shares to the public for the first time. But shorter paths exist, including the direct public offering (DPO), also known as a direct listing. This is when a company puts shares directly onto a stock exchange without all the steps required for an IPO. A traditional initial public offering (IPO) isn’t the only way for companies to list their shares on a public exchange.

“Direct listings have traditionally been made in the over-the-counter (OTC) market, in which securities are traded through a broker-dealer network rather than on a listed exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange,” says Gilley. This method allowed companies to set their own terms, including the stock’s initial price and any limits on shares that could be purchased. With a direct listing process (DLP), the business sells shares directly to the public without the help of any intermediaries. It does not involve any underwriters or other intermediaries, there are no new shares issued and there is no lockup period. Their network comprises investment banks, broker-dealers, mutual funds, and insurance companies.

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