An initial public offering (IPO) refers to the first sale of stock that a company issues to the public, officially taking them from a private company to a public company. In the current world of tech giants, IPOs have seen a notable transition. In the 1990s the dot-com era had IPOs running rampant, but the markets have shifted to where IPOs are predominately launched by the major players in the tech game. Today, smaller tech companies are primarily funded by individual investors and Venture Capitalists in the private market. As companies scramble to become the next Google, newsworthy IPOs have become some of the most exciting, unforgettable moments in history.
Industries like e-commerce, data analytics and social media are leading the pack when it comes to massive IPOs, highlighting technology’s continual impact on the world. The following are some of the biggest and most impactful IPOs of all-time:
- Alibaba Group Holding Limited, 2014, $25 billion: based in China, this e-commerce company quickly became a household name in the United States after it touted being the largest IPO ever
- Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. (AgBank), 2010, $22.1 billion: one of the “Big Four” banks in China, this IPO currently sits in history books as the second largest IPO to date
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC Bank), 2006, $21.9 billion: also one of the “Big Four”, this Chinese multinational banking company in the largest bank in China, and the world.
- General Motors (GM), 2010, $20.1 billion: celebrated as the biggest IPO in the United States, GM went public only one year after a bankruptcy filing.
- NTT DOCOMO, Inc. 1998, $18.4 billion: this Tokyo-based telecommunications company recently delisted their U.S. dollar-denominated equity shares from the NYSE.
- Visa Inc., 2008, $17.9 billion: the U.S.-based credit and debit card processing company impressively went public during the financial crisis.
- AIA Group Limited, 2010, $17.8 billion: an investment and insurance company is based in Hong Kong.
- Enel Spa, 1999, $17.4 billion: working in 34 countries, this is an Italian gas and electric company that has users worldwide.
- Facebook, 2012, $16 billion: easily one of the most memorable IPOs in the U.S., Facebook has had a bumpy road since going public in 2011.
While no “mega-deals” hit the newsstands in 2018, a recovering market could pave the way for a much more exciting year in 2019. Based on this list, it is clear that Asian organizations currently rule the global IPO landscape. The U.S. pulls in behind with companies like GM, Visa, and Facebook holding strong in the top tier of IPOs.
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