A highly anticipated first-time issuance of a company’s shares to the general public in an open market

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What is a Hot IPO?

A Hot IPO (Initial Public Offering) is a highly anticipated first-time issuance of a company’s shares to the general public in an open market. One or more investment banks can act as underwriters for the offering. The objective of issuing shares through an IPO is to raise money for the issuer’s growth and offer an exit-route for the existing shareholders.


Companies can also go public using other methods other than IPO, such as direct public offering and direct listing. An IPO involves a step-by-step process facilitated by lead underwriters and can take months or years to complete.


  • A Hot IPO is issued by a privately held company to the general public which generates a lot of interest and attention.
  • A private company raises funds through an IPO for its future growth and expansion.
  • Hot IPOs may lead to oversubscription of investors and the excess demand often causes prices to shoot up immediately after trading starts.

Understanding Hot IPOs

When a company is formed, it is first owned by a single person or a group of people. At that point, it is called a closely held or private company. One of the ways that a private  company can raise capital is to sell shares of stock to the public in a process colloquially known as “going public.” The issuance attracts strong investor attention and increases brand visibility, hence the name “Hot IPO”.

Usually, a selected investment bank is involved in analyzing the prospects for a successful initial public offering of the company’s shares. The investment bank or a group of investment banks may then agree to act as underwriters for the proposed IPO and arrange for the shares to be listed on a single or several stock exchanges. A portion of the sales proceeds from the IPO is treated as an underwriter’s fee and is paid to these banks.

As the company transitions from a private company to a public company, investors are able to trade the company’s shares freely, and the company must now comply with a multitude of regulations requiring consistent public disclosure of vital information to potential investors and existing shareholders.

Reasons for Launching Hot IPOs

Companies launch an IPO to raise new equity capital in a short time and enable early investors to cash out. The bulk of the money raised for its shares enables companies to fund operations, growth initiatives and cover existing obligations..

The formal process to produce HIPO in a hot market is well structured and information is disclosed to the potential purchasers using a prospectus. However, the process of setting up an IPO has many regulatory hurdles. Many of the companies that roll out an IPO are early stage, small, and risky, but because of their uniqueness or market position, generate strong interest.  They require the infusion of cash to jump-start their growth as internally generated funds or their existing investor base cannot meet the requirement.

The Underwriting Process

There are five distinct steps involved in the IPO process. Generally, a company that plans to issue its shares must coordinate with one or a group of underwriters. The process is explained in the following steps:

  1. The issuer selects an underwriter or a group of underwriters and negotiates an agreement.
  2. The issuer works alongside the underwriter to draft a prospectus and register the offering to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  3. The underwriter then stages roadshows to introduce the offering and its management to potential investors.
  4. The underwriter determines the offering’s final price after the SEC authorizes it.
  5. The lock-up period follows after the start of the trading, where institutional investors are not allowed to sell their holdings on the open market to prevent a potential run on the stock and price destabilization.

Preparing to issue stock via an IPO requires substantial planning. Some of the underlying issues that must be addressed include corporate planning, executive compensation, corporate charter and bylaws, and corporate structure.

In most cases, issuers will go for prestigious investment banks with a network of institutional investors. It is because such institutions are knowledgeable about the issuer’s business and will continually monitor and maintain a market interest for the company that plans to sell shares on public stock exchanges.

Oversubscribed and Hot IPOs

Usually, investors attracted to Hot IPO’s expect the demand for publicly-traded shares to exceed their supply. Offerings with more demand than the number of shares offered are regarded as oversubscribed shares. Such types of IPOs appeal to investors who hold equity for short term trading opportunities.

Furthermore, there are trading price run-ups during the first day of trading due to high demand for the shares. Companies try to manage this phenomenon to ensure their IPO is seen as a success.

The success of an underwriting depends on three variables – the size of the IPO, trading price, and the amount of interest in the shares. The alignment, when correctly done, maximizes profit for both the investment bankers and the issuer.

An underpriced IPO will experience a price increase after the shares hit the market, and eventually, the market adjusts to the overwhelming demand. However, the underwriter cannot just align demand and supply by simply issuing and distributing more shares since the registration statement contains a fixed number of shares to be distributed.

Instead, an underpriced IPO relative to market demand will undergo a sharp rise in the price soon after the stock begins trading. It is the sharp rise in trading price that makes an IPO “hot.”

More Resources

CFI is the official provider of the Capital Markets & Securities Analyst (CMSA)™ certification program, designed to transform anyone into a world-class financial analyst.

In order to help you become a world-class financial analyst and advance your career to your fullest potential, these additional resources will be very helpful:

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