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Bats: The Epic Fail of the Worst IPO Ever

Bats: The Epic Fail of the Worst IPO Ever
Photograph by Annie Collinge/Stone?Getty Images

(Updated 7:45 p.m. ET: Adds a link in the 10th paragraph to a Bats post mortem issued late Friday, and includes new information from Bloomberg.)

A familiar element to any initial stock offering is the excruciatingly long list of “risk factors” a company lists in its filing. It’s a legal exercise in backside coverage that combines the blindingly obvious with the borderline disingenuous. So it’s not surprising that Bats Global Markets listed a full 19 pages of risk factors for its Friday IPO, covering everything from “intense competition” in the company’s business of high-frequency asset trading to the possibility of regulatory changes. What you won’t find in that long list, however, is the following: