The Wikipedia page about IPOs says this:

A company selling shares is never required to repay the capital to its public investors.

Does that mean that stocks bought on the stock market are somehow different than those that existed before? Do they have a different name, and if so what is their name and what's the name of the original stock? Can the pre-IPO stock be traded on the stock market?

Say that Bob has 10% of Acme's shares, and has had them from before the IPO. Acme might be required to repay the capital to Bob, right? Then he sells them on the stock market to Dan. Might the company now be required to repay the capital to Dan?

1 Answer 1


Shares sold to private investors are sold using private contracts and do not adhere to the same level of strict regulations as publicly traded shares. You may have different classes of shares in the company with different strings attached to them, depending on the deals made with the investors at the time.

Since public cannot negotiate, the IPO prospectus is in fact the investment contract between the company and the public, and the requirements to what the company can put there are much stricter than private sales.

Bob may not be able to sell his "special" stocks on the public exchange, as the IPO specifies which class of stock is being listed for trading, and Bob's is not the same class. He can sell it on the OTC market, which is less regulated, and then the buyer has to do his due diligence.

Yes, OTC-sold stocks may have strings attached to them (for example a buy back option at a preset time and price).

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