Tag: NYSE listing standards

It takes a unicorn? SEC approves NYSE rule change to facilitate direct listings

The chatter has it that some unicorns are considering skipping the standard underwritten IPO in favor of a “direct listing.”  Essentially, this process involves a registered sale by selling shareholders directly into the public market with no intermediary underwriter and—imagine this—no underwriting commissions and no roadshow or similar expenses.  Of course, there’s also the small matter of no proceeds to the company. What’s more, companies may be on their own when it comes to any marketing effort, otherwise typically provided by the bankers, and there may be only limited banker support of the stock price in the aftermarket.   And what about that first day pop in the stock that can breed so much excitement? Of course, many companies have taken advantage of the fertile territory for capital raising provided by the private markets—after all, that’s how they got to be unicorns—and may have no need of additional capital at this point. Their motivation for becoming public may have more to do with shareholder liquidity and obtaining the “currency” that publicly traded stock can provide in the context of acquisitions and similar transactions.  Whether the “direct listing” route to going public catches fire remains to be seen.