What are the biggest IPOs of all time?

Initial public offerings (IPOs) create new opportunities for traders and investors. They’re also a chance for companies to raise more money. We explore the 10 biggest IPOs and show you how to take advantage of future listings.

Stocks board Source: Bloomberg

Top 10 biggest IPOs of all time

  1. Alibaba
  2. SoftBank
  3. NTT DoCoMo
  4. Visa
  5. AIA
  6. Enel
  7. Facebook
  8. General Motors
  9. ICBC
  10. Deutsche Telekom1

Below we explore the details surrounding each of these IPOs and take a look at how the shares of each company have been performing.

Note: the IPO values are based on nominal amounts at the time of listing and have not been adjusted for inflation. This list was last updated on 5 August 2019 and may change if new IPOs are held.

Alibaba ($21.8 billion)

Alibaba holds the title for the largest IPO of all time. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in September 2014, this Chinese e-commerce business’s IPO was worth $21.8 billion. Shares floated at a record high of $68.00 and the huge demand for the stock drove the price up to $97.70 within a day.

The share price enjoyed a steady climb from $86.79 in December 2016 to $208.00 in June 2018, due to increased demand for online services. However, the worsening trade war between China and the US has had an impact on the share price, which hasn’t reached the $200.00 mark since.

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Alibaba chart Source: IG Charts

SoftBank Corp ($21.4 billion)

Japanese mobile phone service provider SoftBank Corp listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TYO) in December 2018. Though it enjoyed vigorous support and an initially impressive IPO valuation of $21.4 billion, its stock market debut was ultimately somewhat disappointing to investors. Shares floated at ¥1463 but declined by 14.5% at the close of the first trading day.

Shares reached a low of ¥1218 in April 2019, which can be attributed to the increase in trade tariffs by the US, but the price has recovered since. However, it has not crossed the ¥1500 mark yet. Its most recent quarterly report stated a 4% growth in operating profit, credited to the increase in mobile users.

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SoftBank chart Source: IG Charts

NTT DoCoMo ($18.1 billion)

NTT DoCoMo held the largest IPO in Japanese history in 1998, valued at $18.1 billion, making it the third-largest public offering in the world. Stocks were originally listed on the TYO as well as the NYSE (2002), but NYSE shares were delisted in 2018.

Shares suffered heavily when the dot-com bubble burst in March 2000, dropping from ¥7760 to ¥3880 less than a year later. The share price performed poorly until 2012, when it started to go up again after the acquisition of an app-developing service. Since then, the stock has had an average performance.

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NTT DoCoMo chart Source: IG Charts

Visa ($17.9 billion)

In March 2008, amidst a financial crisis, Visa set a record by holding its $17.9 billion IPO. When it went public, Visa recorded the biggest US IPO of all time. Over 406 million shares were sold at $44.00 a share, on the NYSE.

Visa is the world’s largest credit card business, overshadowing rival Mastercard. Share prices have soared over the past few years, mimicking investor confidence and high earnings for the group. From the end of June 2015 to the end of June 2019, Visa shares increased from $71.93 to $180.57.

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Visa chart Source: IG Charts

AIA ($17.8 billion)

Asian life insurer and investment company AIA made its stock exchange debut in October 2010. Shares floated on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at HK$19.68, giving the IPO a total valuation of $17.8 billion. This IPO was the third largest in the world at the time of the listing.

Strong sales and overall positive results have helped the share price climb steadily since the public offering. New business figures saw a 22% rise in 2018, as more and more clients make insurance purchases. The share price rose from HK$51.80 in June 2015 to HK$84.25 in June 2019 – a nearly 48% increase.

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AIA chart Source: IG Charts

Enel ($16.5 billion)

Enel, a well-known Italian electricity company, held an IPO to the value of $16.5 billion in November 1999. Shares were listed on the Italian Stock Exchange at €4.30. Enel is known as one of the companies with the largest number of shareholders.

In 2018, revenue amounted to $84.5 billion. Further to this, regular dividend payments are being made to shareholders, which are sufficiently covered by the company’s earnings. The share price increased by more than 50% between June 2015 to June 2019, rising from €4.06 to €6.14.

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Enel chart Source: IG Charts

Facebook ($16.0 billion)

Facebook held its IPO in May 2012, raising $16.0 billion. Shares floated on the Nasdaq 100 at $38.00 a share. Unlike all the other companies on the largest IPOs list, Facebook does not make money from its users. Instead, it sells user data to advertisers who then create customised, targeted ads for the platform.

Despite its work in developing the platform to become the largest social media network in the world, Facebook has been faced with a lot of legal battles – shaking the soaring share price. In June 2019, the stock’s price started to climb following the announcement of the Facebook digital currency, Libra.

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Facebook chart Source: IG Charts

General Motors ($15.8 billion)

General Motors (GM), one of the most well-known vehicle manufacturers in the world, held its IPO in November 2010. The listing was valued at $15.8 billion – the biggest listing in the US by 2010. More than 470 million common shares floated on the NYSE and Toronto Stock Exchange, at $33.00.

The road has been bumpy for GM shares, mostly due to its notorious recalls over the past few years. Since the listing date to the end of June 2019, the share price has only gone up by $4.27. The lowest level to date was $20.18 (September 2011), following the first recall scandal since the IPO. The highest price so far was $45.88 (October 2017), due to strong results and higher sales in the Chinese market.

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General Motors chart Source: IG Charts

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ($14.0 billion)

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) held a record-breaking IPO in October 2006 when it listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange with a valuation of $14.0 billion. It was the biggest IPO in the world at the time, cementing the ICBC’s status as the largest bank in China.

Shares dropped by more than 50% following the global financial crisis and have not broken the ¥800 barrier since. In 2016, a growing revenue stream was interrupted after it declined from the previous year. At the end of 2018, ICBC reported ¥725.1 billion in revenue.

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ICBC chart Source: IG Charts

Deutsche Telekom ($13.0 billion)

Deutsche Telekom, though listed many years ago – November 1996 – is still recognised as one of the biggest IPOs of all time. Underwritten by corporate banking giant Goldman Sachs, Deutche Telekom’s IPO valuation was $13.0 billion. The shares are listed on the DAX.

In March 2000, shares reached an all-time high of €88.80. After all, Deutsche Telekom was the primary provider of internet services in Germany at the time. But then, stock saw a huge drop to €18.00 in August 2001, after Deutsche Bank sold more than 44 million Telekom shares. The stock has stayed below the €18.00 mark since.

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Deutsche Telekom chart Source: IG Charts

How to trade IPOs

Here’s how to start trading IPOs:

  1. Learn more about the company: learn as much as you can about the company and the industry it operates in. IG Academy has plenty of information about how to analyse different markets
  2. Open an IG account: you can open an IG account in just a few minutes via your PC or smartphone
  3. Take your first position: once you know what you want to trade, you can open your first trade. Monitor your trade carefully for as long as it’s open

You can trade IPOs in two ways, depending on whether the company has listed or not. If you want to trade an IPO before it is held, you may be able to do so by trading a grey market. These are offered by IG on certain IPOs and represent a prediction of a company’s market capitalisation before it lists. You can trade the grey market by ‘buying’ if you think the market cap will be worth more than the prediction, or ‘selling’ if you think it has been overvalued.

To trade the IPO after it has been held, you can open a CFD trading account. This enables you to speculate on share price movements without owning the physical shares, which means you can go long or short.

Alternatively, you can buy the stocks outright, via our share trading service, once they are listed.

Sources

1 Renaissance Capital, 2019


This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients.

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