Initial Public Offerings of State-Owned Enterprises: An International Study of Policy Risk
Swee Sum Lam, Ruth Seow Kuan Tan, Glenn Wee
Policy risk, and not information asymmetry, explains the cross-sectional underpricing of privatized initial public offerings. The issuer governments of high policy-risk issues tend to retain a large equity stake and underprice more, with underpricing increasing in retained equity. While the issuer government's retained equity is an observable signal for policy risk, we find that the quality of a country's bureaucratic machinery is a more intuitive and practical measure of policy risk. Policy risk also explains the absence of a systematic relation between the initial returns on privatized and private initial public offerings.