Simply put, an IPO is a company's first offering of stock to the public. If you want to "take your company public" or "go public," you must file a registration statement with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) before you can sell your stock publicly. Any information contained in the registration statements becomes public, immediately upon filing. Many dot-coms held IPOs in the late 1990's, resulting in quite a few IPOoafs. IPOs are such a big deal because anyone holding stock at the offering price when a company goes public is in line for "free money"-most new issues rise in value, at least temporarily.
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