Block-booking and IPO share allocation: the importance of being ignorant

Publication Date
Financial Markets Group Discussion Papers DP 480
Publication Authors

Given the opportunity to buy IPO shares of uncertain value at a fixed price, potentially informed investors have an incentive to refuse to participate in offerings the underwriter happens to overprice. We show that an underwriter can efficiently resolve this problem by entering into a repeat game with a stable coalition of investors who agree to participate in all of the bank’s IPOs (block-booking). Using a unique data-set consisting of UK transaction records that enables us to identify original investors for all large UK IPOs between 1997 and 2000, we find strong empirical support for this implication.