Managers usually do not sell any of their own shares in an initial public offering but instead wait until the end of the lockup period. We develop a model in which managers strategically underprice IPOs to maximize personal wealth from selling shares at lockup expiration. First-day underpricing generates information momentum by attracting attention to the stock and thereby shifting the demand curve for the stock outwards. This allows managers to sell shares at the lockup expiration at prices higher than they would otherwise obtain. We test the model on a sample of IPOs in the 1990s. We find that higher ownership by managers is positively correlated with first-day underpricing, underpricing is positively correlated with research coverage, and research coverage is positively correlated with stock returns and insider selling at the lockup expiration. These results are consistent with the model.
Journal of Financial Economics – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2002
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