IPOs Get Bigger but Leave Less for Public Investors

As companies stay private longer, public investors miss out on gains
Twitter’s initial public offering in New York on Nov. 7, 2013 Photograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Initial public offerings used to offer investors chances to get in on the ground floor of young, fast-growing companies. There was risk, of course, but also the possibility of enormous rewards. Amazon.com went public in May 1997, less than three years after it was incorporated, and has since returned almost 24,000 percent to people who got in at the IPO price.

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