On the determinants of initial public offering underpricing
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The initial public offering (IPO) underpricing phenomenon has frequently been noticed and generally is accepted as a puzzle in financial economics. Some of the new theories, such as behavioural finance, take the underpricing puzzle as one important form of evidence. However, some aspects of IPO underpricing have not yet been fully documented and discussed in the existing literature. This thesis tries to contribute in the following three specific areas. First, we focus on the time series properties of the level of underpricing of IPO shares and document the IPO market in the Hong Kong market from 1999 to 2005. In the data sample, strong autocorrelation within the level of underpricing has been discovered. Evidence suggests the initial selling volume plays an important role in the relationship. The links between underpricing and clustering of IPOs within different industries are weak, suggesting the reasons for underpricing are related to the market liquidity rather than to the industry-specific risk characteristics. Second, we investigate the underwriting networks to explore the relationship between underwriting business and IPO related puzzles. We find that in repeated IPOs, underwriters build up reputation and accumulate knowledge of their underwriting services. One of the great advantages of the top ranked underwriters is their relationship networks with other underwriters and institutional investors. We perform a careful examination of the underwriter syndicate and investigate the relationship of the structure of the syndicate in respect of IPO performance. Moreover, the pattern of distribution in the size of syndicates is identified and is found to be significantly related to the IPO performance. The research shows that the perspective from the underwriter syndicate is not only interesting, also necessary to understand IPOs. Third, we analyse the coordination problem in the IPO. In the research, we consider the auction method as a one-stage selling and the bookbuilding method as a two-stage selling method. The model suggests that the relationship between the underpricing level and the quality of IPO shares is non-monotone. This implication is consistent with empirical observations. In addition, regarding the issuers' proceeds in the IPOs, the auction method is better than the bookbuilding method in both noisy and noisy vanishing equilibria. The bookbuilding method may be helpful in other ways, such as maintaining liquidity or price support in secondary market. By studying liquidity, business networks and the coordination problem, the thesis does not only complement the existing research by providing unique explanations for the IPO underpricing and other related puzzles, but also opens some interesting venues for future research.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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