For most companies and their owners, an initial public offering (IPO) is a “once-in-in-a-lifetime” event that represents the culmination of many years of hard work and personal investment. The IPO provides stockholders and management of the company with a significant sense of accomplishment and represents one of the most important milestones in the corporate evolution of a company.

An IPO, however, frequently also brings with it a sense of upheaval as significant changes are often required to be made to the way a company operates and conducts itself – membership in the new “public” world brings with it legal and compliance obligations and challenges.

This guide provides an overview of some of the key issues with which we believe all directors, members of senior management, general counsels and other key decision makers involved with a potential US domestic IPO candidate should be familiar and focuses on the public offering process in the United States and listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the Nasdaq Stock Market (Nasdaq) and life as a public company. However, it is not intended as a comprehensive treatment of the subject matters covered by this guide or of all matters relevant to an IPO. This guide is also not intended as a substitute for legal advice, and we encourage our readers to reach out to the authors of this guide or any of the other key members of our US Capital Markets Practice before taking any action.

European issuers should consult our guide Initial Public Offerings—an Issuer’s Guide (European Edition) and Asian issuers should consult our guide Initial Public Offerings—an Issuer’s Guide (Asia Edition) for additional information that foreign private issuers organized under the laws of those jurisdictions should consider when contemplating an initial public offering in the United States.

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