I have noticed that some companies, in the weeks prior to a first listing day or IPO, have share prices listed. This often seems to happen before a spinoff, such as in Xylem's (XYL) 2011 spinoff from the ITT Corp. According to Wikipedia, XYL began trading under its own ticker effective Nov. 1; however, Yahoo and Google have price information going back to mid-October. Another case is YUM Brands (YUM). I'm not as certain of the official ticker launch date for YUM spinning off from Pepsi, but Crunchbase lists it as Sep. 26, 1997; Google and Yahoo have data going back to Sep. 17.

I'm wondering how to interpret these prices. Are they OTC or privately traded prices from early shares, that are incorporated into the public price once trading begins? Are they somehow derived from the share price of the parent corporation? Is the "official ticker start date" somewhat fungible, and is public trading of these entities already occurring? Or is it something else?

I have observed this mostly with spinoffs, I believe, but there may be other situations where this pattern occurs.

  • That question also belongs to me. At that stage, I was simply relying on the printed date from Crunchbase, which was incorrect. (Crunchbase's "IPO date" only goes back to 1978, and you will see the same date listed for many stocks that started trading before that.) I will edit that question's title to try and make it clear that this is a separate circumstance. Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 21:34
  • So the linked question is really about reconciling incorrect information, while this question is about the technicalities of spinoffs. (There may be room for answers about similar situations such as mergers, but mhoran's answer about spinoffs is great info.) Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


For the case of spinoffs it reflects the market as activities as the specific steps that have to be followed take place.

For example the spinoff of Leidos from SAIC in 2013. (I picked this one becasue I knew some of the details)

On September 9, 2013, the Board of Directors of SAIC, Inc.(Ticker Symbol (NYSE):SAI) approved the following:

  • The separation of its technical, engineering and enterprise information technology services business through the distribution of shares of SAIC Gemini, Inc. to stockholders. Each stockholder of record of SAIC, Inc. as of September 19, 2013 (Record Date) will receive one (1) share of SAIC Gemini, Inc. common stock for every seven (7) shares of SAIC, Inc. common stock held by such stockholder as of the Record Date. This distribution will be effective after market close on September 27, 2013 (Distribution Date). After the Distribution Date, SAIC Gemini, Inc. will be renamed Science Applications International Corporation (New SAIC).

  • A one (1) for four (4) reverse stock split of the SAIC, Inc. common stock effective as of Distribution Date. After the Distribution Date, SAIC, Inc. will be renamed Leidos Holdings, Inc. (Leidos).

Q 11: What are the different trading markets that may occur between Record Date and Distribution Date?

A: Beginning two days prior to the Record Date of September 19, 2013 through the Distribution Date on September 27, 2013, there may be three different trading markets available with respect to SAIC, Inc. and the separation.

  • Stock Ticker – SAI (Regular Way Trading with Due Bills): Shares of SAI common stock that trade on the regular-way market will trade with an entitlement to shares of the New SAIC common stock distributed on the Distribution Date. Purchasers in this market are purchasing both the shares of Leidos and New SAIC common stock.

  • Form of Stock Ticker –SAIC (When Issued Trading): Shares of New SAIC common stock may be traded on a “when-issued” basis. These transactions are made conditionally because the security has been authorized, but not yet issued. Purchasers in this market are only purchasing the shares of New SAIC common stock distributed on the Distribution Date.

  • Form of Stock Ticker – LDOS (Ex-Distribution Trading): Shares that trade on the ex-distribution market will trade without an entitlement to shares of New SAIC common stock distributed on the Distribution Date. Purchasers in this market are only purchasing the shares of Leidos common stock.

So the stock price for New SAIC starts a few days before the record date of 19 September 2013, while LDOS (new name for the old SAIC) goes back much earlier. But the company didn't split until after the close of business on 27 September 2013.


  • Ah ok thanks, that clears up a lot of it with the record date and distribution date! Now I'm just curious how financial data services assimilate some or all of these three trading markets to come up with a share price from before the distribution date. Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 22:00

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