Let's say the Company C goes public using a Fixed Price Offering. It emits 10000 shares at 10 euros per share.

What happens if investors only subscribe to, let's say, 789 shares.

That gives a service rate > 1. Since the company only raises 7890 euros, is the IPO cancelled or the company is introduced as is ?

Also, how long is supposed to take the period when the investors can send their buy order at the fixed price ?


2 Answers 2


IPOs are cancelled for a number of reasons:

  • The company finds a better funding option than an IPO

  • Other recent IPOs have not done well and weaker sisters are pulled

  • Market nervousnness: The market is dropping (think 2008 or December of 2018)

  • There are concerns about rising interest rates, political uncertainty, trade wars or anything else that affects terra firma

  • The company is privately acquired before going public

  • The size of the IPO is too large (shares) or the price is set too high

  • Investor demand is weak and syndicate members are having trouble placing shares

  • Thanks Bob. So, whether it is the company or the stock exchange manager, one of them can say "ok we did not sell well at 10 euros per share, let's cancel everything" ? Or in the opposite, ok I accept to keep going like this and serve all of those who made an order, 100% of their order ?
    – c4k
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 13:29
  • The possibilities that I listed are reasons that an IPO is postponed or cancelled. Once it goes public and begins trading, there is no possible cancellation. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:10
  • Got it. So even if it does not sell all the stocks at the fixed price offering it must go live if I understood well.
    – c4k
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:17
  • 1
    "Once it goes public and begins trading, there is no possible cancellation." Well, the company can always buy back all its shares. Usually at a hefty premium, but technically doable.
    – user
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:22
  • 1
    And you think that buying back shares of a publicly traded company cancels an IPO? It ends public trading not the IPO. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:35

Although I gave Bob Baerker's answer a vote I should add that in general the large IPOs that people hear about (and all in some "western" countries thanks to legislation and market rules) are backed by one or more investment banks. This means that a bank will sponsor the listing on the primary market and guarantee a certain price level within acceptable limits. This usually means that the company can guarantee a minimum value for its shares. Within the contract for the IPO with the bank there will be various cancellation clauses which would trigger if the funding round is a disaster and the subscription level is far too low (so the bank will not guarantee the funds).

It is unusual, however, that these provisions are triggered and most IPOs that are cancelled are done so via an agreement with the bank and exchange that they will not receive the funding that they require from the IPO or that completing the IPO will have a destabilizing effect on the company or the exchange. It will normally be the investment bank who decides whether the IPO will go ahead or not based on whether it will take the risk of potentially owning a loss making position in the company. The reasons Bob mentions will inform the bank as to whether to continue its support.

In comments you ask when a company is considered "public". A company is public when any of its shares are publicly traded on an open exchange. This does not necessarily have to be the result of an IPO as private shareholders could, in theory, sell off their share of the business to receive personal capital. In this case no money would go to the firm itself and it is exceedingly rare that this happens.

  • 1
    I believe that the term for said bank is the "underwriter". Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 17:40
  • @Acccumulation it is and it appears I neglected to use the word at any point, oops!
    – MD-Tech
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 7:25

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