The 25 Biggest U.S. IPOs of All Time

Initial public offerings (IPOs) are the process companies use to tap the public stock markets for capital.

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Initial public offerings (IPOs) are the process companies use to tap the public stock markets for capital. They usually involve early-stage businesses that are looking for fresh fuel for growth; many are small opportunities, but a few have mammoth potential.

IPOs aren’t guaranteed tickets to riches, as implosions such as Pets.com and Webvan proved. But they can produce explosive returns, and in a hurry. Through the end of September, 38 offerings had produced returns of 50% or more. One thing 2018 has lacked, however, is the mega-deal – an offering such as Facebook (FB (opens in new tab)) or Alibaba (BABA (opens in new tab)) that sets the world on fire. That should change in 2019.

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of ride-hailing service Uber, says the company expects to execute an IPO next year. “Uber is a widely known brand that connects with millions of consumers and they have also received large amounts of capital from investors over the years,” says Scott Coyle, CEO of ClickIPO, an online platform that allows retail investors to purchase IPOs. No wonder then, that The Wall Street Journal reported that proposals from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley valued the company at more than $120 billion. Given that IPOs often raise about 10% to 15% of their projected worth, that could be a $12 billion-$18 billion raise.

Where would that rank among America’s biggest IPOs? Today we’ll look back on the 25 biggest deals in U.S. history, as measured by money raised.

Data is as of Oct. 18, 2018. IPO deal data provided by IPOScoop.com LLC, which is an independent news and research firm for public offerings. Stocks listed in reverse order of money raised in the IPO.

Tom Taulli
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Tom Taulli is the author of High-Profit IPO Strategies, All About Commodities and All About Short Selling. He is also the founder of several high-tech companies, such as Web IPO (one of the pioneers of digital public offerings). He can be reached on Twitter at @ttaulli.