Definition of ‘Underpricing’
The pricing of an initial public offering (IPO) below its market value. When the offer price is lower than the price of the first trade, the stock is considered to be underpriced. A stock is usually only underpriced temporarily because the laws of supply and demand will eventually drive it toward its intrinsic value.
It is believed that IPOs are often underpriced because of concerns relating to liquidity and uncertainty about the level at which the stock will trade. The less liquid and less predictable the shares are, the more underpriced they will have to be in order to compensate investors for the risk they are taking. Because an IPO’s issuer tends to know more about the value of the shares than the investor, a company must underprice its stock to encourage investors to participate in the IPO.