What Arm and Instacart say about the coming IPO wave
- The old-school stockmarket debut is back. About time
Tech bosses have long sought to disrupt the initial public offering (IPO). They bristle at the thought of the high fees collected by spreadsheet-savvy investment bankers for flogging their vision, at the alchemical process of divvying up shares to new investors and at the money left on the table when the price of a company’s shares soars as soon as they begin trading on an exchange. Many plans have been hatched to improve the process, with varying degrees of success. When going public in 2004 Google botched a “Dutch" auction for its shares, which started with the highest bid and worked downwards, rather than upwards, to a price that matches the supply of shares to investors’ demand. As a final insult to the formalities of the normal IPO process, an interview with the search giant’s founders was published, of all places, in Playboy magazine, and of all times, during the supposedly “quiet period" in the run-up to their company’s stockmarket debut.