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Inside the dotcom IPO game ... with leading Silicon Valley venture capitalists, a top institutional money manager, a veteran investment banker, and a seasoned business journalist. Plus, a primer on the IPO process, some eye-popping statistics on first-day price spikes during the late-1990s, and links to some of the best information about IPOs.

Inside the Dotcom IPO Game

Why were so many Internet startups taken public before their time? Did Silicon Valley's venture capitalists pass off risk to a naïve investing public -- while they themselves amassed fortunes? And what role did Wall Street play? Here are excerpts from FRONTLINE's interviews with venture capitalist Jim Breyer of Accel Partners, venture capitalists Jay Hoag and Rick Kimball of Technology Crossover Ventures, institutional money manager David Siminoff of Capital Group, veteran investment banker Bill Hambrecht, and Joseph Nocera of Fortune magazine.

an ipo primer

Don't speak the language? Here's a concise overview of the nuts and bolts of the IPO process, along with links for further reading.

Chart-Topping Pops

Some amazing statistics on first-day price spikes during the Internet IPO bubble.

The ABCs of IPOs

This four-part series includes a glossary of terms commonly used in the IPO market, as well as pointers on how to read a prospectus. Hoover's IPO Central also maintains up-to-date information on current IPO pricings and filings.

Money 101: Investing in IPOs

This series from the editors of CNN and Money magazine is geared toward investors interested in the IPO market. Its list of "Top Ten Things to Know" provides useful information on researching IPOs, as well as practical tips on how to broach the subject with your broker.

SEC Filings and Forms (EDGAR)

The SEC requires all public companies (except foreign companies and companies with less than $10 million in assets and 500 shareholders) to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR. Anyone can access and download this information for free. Here you'll find links to a complete list of filings available through EDGAR and instructions for searching the EDGAR database.

The IPO Tease

This 1998 Red Herring article by Stephanie T. Gates analyzes individual investors' opportunities to invest in IPOs through online brokerages and the OpenIPO process advocated by Bill Hambrecht. It concludes that although the Internet has the potential to democratize the process, many barriers still exist for the average retail investor.

Pop Goes the IPO

In Feb. 2001 analyzed the 20 best-performing IPOs of the 1990s and found that while all the stocks had hugely appreciated, not one could be found on the list of top 20 one-day pops during the same period. (Requires free registration.)

Initial Public Offerings (*pdf)

In the 1990s, thousands of firms went public around the world. This article surveys the market for IPOs. The process of going public is discussed, with particular emphasis on how contractual mechanisms deal with potential conflicts of interest. The valuation of IPOs, bookbuilding, price stabilization, and the costs of going public are also discussed. Three empirical patterns are documented and analyzed: short-run underpricing, hot issue markets and long-run underperformance. (Contemporary Finance Digest, Spring 1998)

The Great Internet IPO Scam: Money Left on the Table

"The chief financial officers of Internet companies simply don't want to talk about it. It's called 'money on the table' -- the difference between the initial price of an Internet IPO and the price that's set by the open market on the first day of trading." (UPSIDE, June 24, 1999)

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