Going public is a big deal for any small business. This is the time to monetize those early investments, raise more capital and become a publicly traded entity. For many organizations, this is the only way to expand. IPO news is also hot with savvy investors looking to get in early on the next up-and-upcoming corporate empire.
An initial public offering (IPO) is your first step toward selling shares on the open stock market. Most private owners sell first to internal investors. This is the IPO price. The shares are then sold on a securities exchange to the general public. The process can get slightly complicated, and legal representation is necessary for a smooth transition. Your securities lawyer will require specific information about you and your company, so it’s important to do your research and be prepared with all necessary documentation.
When you decide to take your business public, you agree to expand your ownership structure. In addition to providing your personal contact information, you will be required to answer the following questions:
- Have you ever declared personal bankruptcy?
- Have you ever been accused of, convicted or held liable for violating a state or federal securities law or regulation?
- Have you ever received an injunction from or otherwise entered into a dispute with a government agency or commerce department?
Any business partner(s) you might have must also answer the questions from above. Moreover, all company officers and board members are required to answer question number three. Your lawyer will gather additional information about your legal standing through further questioning:
- Has this business been incorporated?
- In which U.S. state is the business incorporated?
- Is the business in good standing with said state?
- In which other states, if any, may the corporation legally conduct business?
- Is the business a Subchapter S Corporation for federal income tax purposes?
Your lawyer will also ask whether or not you have adopted any bylaws, established any stock options or are currently maintaining corporate records. He or she will want to see copies of all applicable documents. You will also need to furnish the names, addresses and phone numbers of all officers, board members and current owners. Be prepared to divulge ownership percentages, specific contributions and any unwritten monetary and non-monetary arrangements between parties.
Your Post-IPO Forecast
IPOs can be risky for individual investors because they typically lack the historical data with which to gauge the company’s profitability. Therefore, it’s difficult to predict what the stock will do once it hits the trading floor. Most of the companies currently wading through IPOs are also facing a degree of uncertainty as they attempt to restructure and realign their growth strategies.
You should be ready to discuss your current business plan. Write out the details of your existing operation. You will need to provide copies of your financial statements for the past three years, as well as any current lease agreements and deeds to company-owned real estate. Your lawyer will also want to know exactly where you plan to take the company after your IPO. How much money will you need to successfully carry out your growth strategy? Have you sold any company interests through private offering? Gather information for any consultants or accountants you have hired, and bring official documents related to any joint-venture agreements.
What Happens Next
You should formally compile all of this information before meeting with a lawyer. Doing so will ensure a smooth transition. If you’re looking to cut costs throughout the process, prepare your questions ahead of time to reduce the number of billable hours you incur. With a little preparation, you can successful launch your IPO and start trading alongside the market’s biggest players.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.