Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Initial Public Offerings Law Review. While it is largely agreed that the first ‘modern’ initial public offering (IPO) was by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602, IPOs now take place in nearly every corner of the world and involve a wide variety of companies in terms of size, industry and geography. Several of the earliest exchanges are still at the forefront of the global IPO market, such as the NYSE and LSE, however, the world’s major stock exchanges now are scattered around the globe, and many of them are now public companies themselves. Aside from general globalisation, shifting investor sentiment and economic, political and regulatory factors have also influenced the development and evolution of the global IPO market. For example, markets in the Asia-Pacific region, including Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, have enjoyed a significantly stronger presence in the global IPO arena in recent years owing to economic growth in the Asian markets.
Every exchange operates with its own set of rules and requirements for conducting an IPO. Country-specific regulatory landscapes are often dramatically different between jurisdictions as well. Whether a company is looking to list in its home country or is exploring listing outside of its own jurisdiction, is it important that the company and its management are aware of the requirements from the outset as well as potential pitfalls that may derail the offering. Moreover, once a company is public, there are ongoing jurisdiction-specific disclosure and other requirements with which it must comply.
Virtually all markets around the globe have experienced significant volatility in recent years. In 2016, the uncertainty surrounding the US presidential election, the unexpected outcome of the Brexit vote and numerous other geopolitical issues facing regions throughout the world furthered the general decline in both overall deal count and proceeds raised. Moving forward, however, many regions have a healthy IPO pipeline for the coming 12 months, including many household names.
The Initial Public Offerings Law Review seeks to introduce the reader to the global IPO regulatory environment and main stock exchanges in 16 different jurisdictions. Each chapter provides a general overview of the IPO process in the region, addresses regulatory and exchange requirements and presents key offering considerations. We hope this inaugural edition of The Initial Public Offerings Law Review introduces the reader to the intricacies of taking a company public in these jurisdictions and serves as a helpful handbook for companies, directors and managers.
David J Goldschmidt
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP