The process of taking a company public presents unique challenges best faced with the assistance of an experienced team. A crucial member of that team is an experienced securities lawyer. Each member of the team has key responsibilities to fulfill in guiding the company through the following process. Read along as FindLaw outlines the general chronology of going public.
Usually the lawyers draft the narrative part of the prospectus and the accountants prepare financial statements.
6. Due diligence. The company's investment bank and accountants will perform a detailed "due diligence investigation" of the company. They will examine the company's management, operations, financial condition, competitive position, performance, and business objectives and plan. Information regarding the company's labor force, suppliers, customers, and industry will also be reviewed. It is likely that information discovered in the due diligence investigation will result in changes being made to the prospectus.
7. Presenting the preliminary prospectus to the SEC. The preliminary prospectus must be presented to the SEC and the relevant stock market regulators. Approval of state securities commissions may also be required. The SEC usually provides its comments regarding the prospectus, normally in the form of requirements for additional disclosure or explanation, in one to four weeks.
8. Syndication. After the preliminary prospectus has been prepared and filed with the SEC, the investment bank should assemble a "syndicate" consisting of other investment banks who will attempt to sell portions of the offering to investors. The assembly of the syndicate often generates useful information as to the market for the shares and helps to narrow the share price range.
9. Road show. Company management and the investment banker often perform a series of meetings with potential investors and analysts. The road show is a formal presentation by management of the company's financial condition, operations, performance, markets, and products or services. The potential investors and analysts are then permitted to "kick the tires" by asking questions about the company.
10. Finalizing the prospectus. The prospectus must be revised in accordance with the comments of the SEC and the relevant stock market. When the SEC declares the registration effective, the company can "go to print" with the prospectus.
11. Pricing the offering and determining the offering size. On the day before the registration becomes effective and sale commences the offering is priced. The investment banker should recommend a price for the company's approval, taking into account the company's performance, the stock price of competitive companies, the success of the road show, and general market and industry conditions. The investment banker will also consult with the company regarding the size of the offering, considering such factors as the amount of capital required, investor demand, and the desired retention of control over the corporation.
12. Printing. The company should have earlier selected an experienced financial printer who has adequate printing capacity and is familiar with the SEC's regulations regarding the use of graphics. The final prospectus is sent to the printer for printing on an expedited basis.
Having a Lawyer Help Your Company Go Public
The process of going public can be complicated, with several steps and legal hoops to jump through. You'll want to make sure you have sound legal advice before engaging in the steps listed above. Contact a qualified business and commercial law attorney today for a consolation.