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Finance Glossary

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Over 700 finance terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Initial Public Offering


When a company starts selling stocks to the public, the first sale is known as the IPO (Initial Public Offering), and it usually results in a lot of excitement from investors, especially if the company is a biggie (hello, Facebook).

Companies usually hire a middleman known as an underwriter (or a whole team of 'em) to help them place their stocks and decide when to sell and for how much.

Take a look at the 11 Greatest IPOs of All Time.