IPOs (Initial Public Offerings), were to a large extent introduced to the consciousness of the average Brit in the 1980s.
Then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher introduced a policy of mass privatisation of large state institutions such as British Gas, BT and British Airways, among others. These companies were sold off by the British Government via IPOs, which gave private British citizens the opportunity to buy shares in them in the run up to them being floated on the London Stock Exchange.
Thatcher’s IPOs are credited with the creation of the UK’s ‘shareholder society’, with many British households owning company shares for the first time. Prior to these privitisations in the 1980s, owning stock in companies was not something that the average household would likely have countenanced with stock market investment considered the preserve of the wealthy and institutional investors.
Topics covered in this Guide
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- What exactly is an IPO?
- Why Companies go Public?
- Timeline of an IPO and How It Works
- Advantages and Risks to Investing in an IPO
- Key Factors When Assessing an IPO