IPO Lock-In Agreements in the UK
Posted: 19 Feb 2002
When a company offers shares in an initial public offering (IPO), existing owners often enter into lock-in agreements prohibiting them from selling shares for a specified period after the IPO. There is some recent U.S. evidence of predictable share-price movements at the time of expiry of these lock-in periods. Using a sample of 188 firms, 83 classified as high-tech and 105 others, that went public on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) during 1992-1998, we focus on the characteristics of lock-in agreements in the UK and on the behavior of stocks returns around the lock-in expiry date. We find that the lock-in contracts of LSE-listed firms are much more complex, varied and diverse than U.S. contracts, which usually standardize the lock-in period at 180 days after the IPO. We also find evidence of negative abnormal stock returns at and around lock-in expiry of similar magnitude to those reported in U.S. studies. However, these abnormal returns are typically not statistically significant. While the deterioration in stock returns immediately around the expiry date appears to be much more particularly pronounced for high-tech stocks than for others, the differences in performance are not statistically significant.
Keywords: Initial Public Offerings, Lock-in, High-Tech
JEL Classification: G24, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation