Private Placement vs. IPO

In this article, we have elaborated on the differences between private placement and IPO.

When a company needs to raise capital, it has several options available, two of which are private placement and an initial public offering (IPO). The term “private placement” describes the sale of securities to a select group of investors, such as rich individuals, private equity firms, or institutional investors. In contrast, an IPO entails the initial public offering of securities through a stock exchange. Private placements often have fewer investors, less liquidity, and less visibility than IPOs but are quicker, less expensive, and less regulated. The access to a broader pool of capital and the possibility for better values offered by IPOs, on the other hand, comes at a higher cost, with a longer time commitment, and with more stringent regulatory requirements. In this article, we have elaborated on the differences between private placement and IPO, and factors to consider when deciding which option is best for a company.

What is private placement?

A private placement is a way to raise money by selling stocks or bonds to a small group of investors as opposed to the broader public. Without going through the time-consuming and expensive process of a public offering, this might be an effective way for businesses to generate money. Private placements are often made with professional investors that have the capital and skills to assess and invest in private enterprises, such as institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals. Private placement offerings can be more adaptable and less expensive for businesses to carry out because they frequently are free from the registration and disclosure requirements that apply to public offerings.

How does private placement work?

An organization or issuer will often locate potential investors, such as institutional investors or individuals with significant assets, and present them with an offering memorandum or prospectus describing the parameters of the investment opportunity. The details of the investment, such as the price and number of securities being provided, can then be discussed if the investors are still interested. Private placements can be a more flexible and economical option for businesses to obtain capital since they are frequently free from the registration and disclosure requirements that apply to public offers. Private placements, on the other hand, are frequently subject to securities laws and regulations and may call for regulatory filings.

Types of private placement

While there are several types of private placements, two common types include:

  • Preferential Allotment – This is a kind of private placement when a business issues securities to a small group of investors at a price that is frequently lower than the going market rate. These financiers could be current stockholders, sponsors, or other strategic financiers with ties to the business. Preferential allotments are frequently utilized by businesses to swiftly acquire money without the necessity for an IPO, however, depending on the jurisdiction, they could be subject to regulatory limitations.
  • Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) – This is a type of private placement that is specific to India’s securities market. It enables listed firms to acquire money without the requirement for a public offering by issuing securities to qualified institutional buyers (QIBs), like banks, mutual funds, and insurance companies. Companies frequently use QIPs to rapidly and effectively meet their financial needs, and they may have advantages over conventional public offerings, such as cheaper costs and more flexibility. However, QIPs may need to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India and are subject to regulatory limitations, such as a minimum size requirement for the offering (SEBI).

Pros and Cons of Private Placement

Being a popular method for companies to secure funding from accredited investors, Private placements also come with their own set of pros and cons that should be carefully weighed before making a decision.

Pros and Cons of Private Placements


  • Confidentiality – Private placements offer confidentiality, benefiting smaller or early-stage businesses as company and investment information does not need to be made public.
  • Direct Bargaining – Private placements allow companies to directly negotiate with investors and customize terms according to their specific needs and goals, providing more control over investment terms.
  • Access for Non-Public Companies – Private placements are a valuable option for businesses unable to raise funds through a public offering or lacking the necessary track record or financial history to attract outside investors.


  • Fair Market Value – Determining the fair market value of securities in private placements can be challenging due to their reduced transparency compared to public offers.
  • Limited Market Liquidity – Exiting the investment can be difficult in private placements as the securities may have a small market, lacking a readily available market for trading. This poses challenges, particularly for investors requiring liquidity such as institutional investors or private equity firms.
  • Suitability for Business or Sectors – Not all businesses or sectors benefit from private placements as some require greater public visibility or access to larger pools of capital.
  • Administrative and Legal Expenses – Smaller or early-stage companies may face significant administrative, legal, and due diligence expenses, which can act as a barrier to participating in private placements.

What is an IPO?

A private firm generates cash through an IPO (initial public offering), in which shares of its stock are first made available to the general public. A firm can become publicly traded through an IPO, and after that, its shares can be listed and exchanged on a stock exchange. An IPO serves two purposes: to provide liquidity for the company’s existing shareholders and to raise funds for the growth and expansion of the business. Investment banks and other financial experts frequently assist companies with the IPO process to help them manage the market dynamics and legal requirements of going public.

How does IPO work?

A company is regarded as private and has few shareholders before going public. Going public allows the business to raise a lot of money, enhancing its capacity for development and growth. The business engages investment banks to oversee and underwrite the offering as the first step in the process. To decide the price at which the shares will be sold, the underwriters will do due diligence on the firm to ascertain its worth. After then, the shares are promoted to prospective buyers, including institutional investors and the general public, who can purchase them through brokerage companies. The proceeds from the sale of the shares go to the corporation, which can then utilize for development and growth. Following that, the shares start trading on a stock exchange.

Types of IPO

There are two types of IPOs: fixed price issues and book-building issues. Let’s elaborate on these:

  • Fixed Price Issue – In a fixed-price offering, the issuing business establishes a preset price to make the shares available to the general public. Typically, the firm and its underwriters decide on this price based on the state of the market and the company’s financial health. The public is subsequently presented with the shares at this set price.
  • Book-Building Issue – A book-building issue allows investors to bid for the shares within a predetermined price range rather than having a fixed price at which they would be sold. The corporation and its underwriters decide on the pricing range. The issuer business uses the book-building process to assess investor demand for its shares and decide the final price. After then, shares are allocated following the final price, which was established through the bidding procedure.

Pros and Cons of IPO

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of IPO:

Pros and Cons of IPO


  • Access to a Larger Pool of Investors – An initial public offering (IPO) allows a business to raise money from the general public, providing access to a significantly larger pool of potential investors compared to private placements.
  • Growth and Expansion Opportunities – By raising additional funds through an IPO, a company can support its growth and expansion goals, leading to increased sales, profitability, and market share.
  • Enhanced Reputation and Visibility – Going public can improve a company’s reputation and visibility, positively impacting its brand image and increasing its overall market presence.


  • High Costs and Continuous Expenses – Going public through an IPO involves significant up-front costs and ongoing expenses associated with running a public company.
  • Management Distraction – Fluctuations in share price can distract management, as they may be evaluated more on stock performance than actual financial performance.
  • Increased Disclosure Obligations – Going public exposes the business to enhanced disclosure requirements, potentially revealing sensitive information such as financial, accounting, and tax details to competitors.
  • Consideration of Staying Private or Exploring Alternatives – Due to the aforementioned drawbacks, some businesses may opt to remain private or explore alternative strategies, such as seeking takeover offers or pursuing other funding options.

Difference between IPO and private placement

IPO and private placement are both methods used by companies to raise capital, but there are significant differences between the two.

Stock Offering

In an initial public offering (IPO), the business makes its shares available to the public for the first time, typically through a stock exchange like the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. A private placement, in contrast, is a sale of securities made to a select group of accredited buyers, including institutions, pension funds, and affluent individuals, and is not registered with the SEC. Private placements can comprise the selling of bonds or other debt instruments in addition to the sale of shares. Generally speaking, private placements are less expensive and time-consuming than IPOs.


An IPO’s primary goal is to acquire money from the general public for the company to expand and grow, whereas a private placement seeks to obtain funding from a certain group of investors who are interested in investing in the firm. Companies that want to maintain greater control over the investor selection process or avoid the demanding regulatory process associated with an IPO frequently employ private placements.


Companies opt for private placement since it has been unable in getting in a significant number of institutional or individual investors. IPO becomes a preferred route because companies believe that it can garner significant interest from both institutional and retail investors.


A private placement allows the business to offer shares to a small number of investors without affecting the ownership interests of current shareholders. By doing this, the business can generate money while keeping a firm grip on the ownership structure. Nonetheless, a dilution of ownership may result if the private placement calls for the issuance of new shares. On the other hand, an IPO typically entails the issuance of fresh shares, which might drastically alter the company’s ownership structure


The goal of regulating IPOs is to safeguard investors and make sure they have access to the data they need to make wise investment choices. Many disclosure and reporting criteria must be met by businesses before they may go public, including the provision of thorough financial statements and the disclosure of any significant risks or uncertainties. Private placements, on the other hand, are frequently subject to less regulation because they are only available to a small number of investors who are considered smart and have the means to perform their due diligence. But even private placements could be governed by certain securities laws and rules.

SEC requirements

A registration statement with the SEC that contains comprehensive information about the business and its finances is one of the SEC criteria for an IPO. To guarantee that investors receive accurate and timely information, the SEC also mandates the corporation to produce ongoing disclosure and reporting of financial and business information, such as quarterly and annual reports. Contrarily, under certain exemptions, such as Regulation D, which permits businesses to issue shares to accredited investors without registering with the SEC, private placements are normally free from registration with the SEC.

Comparison of a private placement and IPO

Here’s a clearer picture of the difference between a private placement and an IPO:

FeaturePrivate PlacementIPO
DefinitionOffering securities to a small set of buyersSale of securities to the general public
Ownership Ownership structure may or may not changeOwnership structure changes
PurposeGet funding from a specialized investor communityRaise capital from the general public
RegulationLess regulatedHighly regulated by the SEC
SEC RequirementsMay be exempt from some requirementsMust file a registration statement and comply with various regulations
Costs Lower cost compared to IPOHigher costs due to legal, accounting, and marketing fees
Publicity A private placement is a private transaction IPO is a public event that can generate publicity
LiquidityLimited liquidity for investorsGreater liquidity for investors
Timing Can be quicker and more flexible than an IPO A longer and more structured process
InvestorsUsually, institutional investors or extremely wealthy peopleGeneral public and institutional investors

Get a valuation for your business with Eqvista!

Deciding between a private placement and an IPO is a significant decision for any company. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and companies need to carefully consider their goals, resources, and target investors before making a choice. Furthermore, understanding the value of your company is crucial in both scenarios. Eqvista offers a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to get a valuation, manage equity, and issue shares. With Eqvista, companies can make informed decisions regarding fundraising, equity distribution, and overall growth strategy. So, whether you choose a private placement or an IPO, Eqvista is here to help you every step of the way!

Interested in issuing & managing shares?

If you want to start issuing and managing shares, Try out our Eqvista App, it is free and all online!