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Do IPOs Offer Dividends?

By Rebecca Lake · August 04, 2023 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Do IPOs Offer Dividends?

Some companies may have the financial means to make regular dividend payments before being listed on a public exchange, i.e. prior to their initial public offering, or IPO. A company may choose to offer this type of pre-IPO dividend in order to garner interest in the IPO if it anticipates a high valuation.

Dividends represent a percentage of a company’s profits that it pays out to shareholders. Dividends most commonly come from established companies, but it’s possible to collect an IPO dividend from up-and-coming companies as well.

Do IPOs Offer Dividends?

Most companies that are going public are doing so to raise capital and don’t necessarily have money to spare that they can pay out as special dividends or stock dividends.

However, some companies involved in the IPO process can pay dividends on a regular basis before and/or after going public, or they may pay a special one-time dividend. In either case, the dividends could serve as a useful incentive to attract and retain investors.

In general dividend-paying stocks and IPOs pay different roles in an investors’ portfolio. The former represents a steady source of income, while the latter holds the potential for capital appreciation through strategies such as the Dogs of the Dow, a strategy in which investors purchase the Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks with the highest dividend yield.

A simple way to know whether a pre-IPO company plans to offer a dividend is to review their registration documents. Companies must amend their S-1 registration form with the SEC if they plan to offer any type of dividend payment to investors. You can find S-1 forms through the SEC’s EDGAR database online.


💡 Quick Tip: Keen to invest in an initial public offering, or IPO? Be sure to check with your brokerage about what’s required. Typically IPO stock is available only to eligible investors.

REIT IPOs and Dividends

Typically, companies do not offer dividends as part of the IPO process. If you do find an IPO company that’s offering a dividend payment, it’s more likely to be a real estate investment trust (REIT) versus a more traditional company structure.

REITs are companies that own income-producing real estate investments and must pay out 90% of their taxable income to shareholders as dividends. Just like other companies, REITs can choose to go public in order to raise capital from investors.

REIT IPOs work a little differently than other IPOs in that there are additional filing requirements they have to meet under SEC rules, but otherwise the overall process is largely the same.

IPOs Explained

IPO stands for Initial Public Offering, and the event represents the first time a company makes its shares available for trade on a public exchange. This is often referred to as “going public”.

Companies launch IPOs, a process regulated to raise capital from investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission regulates the IPO process to ensure that the company has performed its due diligence, completed all of the appropriate paperwork, and established an accurate valuation of the IPO.

Investing in IPOs can offer an opportunity to diversify a portfolio while potentially getting in on the ground floor of a company poised for significant growth. It can, however, be risky as there are no guarantees whether an IPO stock will be a success — and even a successful IPO doesn’t necessarily predict how well a company will do over time.

For this reason, it can be difficult for individual investors to buy IPO stock when it’s first issued. In most cases, individuals can trade IPO shares on the secondary market through their brokerage.

IPO stocks are considered high-risk investments, and while some companies may present an opportunity for growth, there are no guarantees. Like investing in any other type of stock, it’s essential for investors to do their due diligence.


💡 Quick Tip: If you’re opening a brokerage account for the first time, consider starting with an amount of money you’re prepared to lose. Investing always includes the risk of loss, and until you’ve gained some experience, it’s probably wise to start small.

Dividends Explained

A dividend is a share of a company’s profits that’s paid out to shareholders, usually in cash. The company determines how frequently to make these payments to investors. For example companies may pay dividends on a monthly, quarterly, biannual or annual basis, or it can pay them on a one-time basis.

The amount an investor receives in dividends correlates to the amount of stock they own. Preferred stock shareholders receive first priority for dividend payouts, ahead of common stock shareholders. However, preferred stock shareholders do not have voting rights while common stock shareholders do.

Companies that offer dividends can decide whether to increase or decrease dividend payouts over time, depending on profitability. Companies that consistently increase dividend payouts over a period of 25 consecutive years or more are called Dividend Aristocrats. Companies that do so over a period of 50 consecutive years or more are called Dividend Kings.

Types of Dividends

Dividends can take different forms, depending on when and why a company pays them out to investors. When discussing IPOs and dividends, you’re typically talking about special dividends and stock dividends. Companies may use both to encourage investors to buy that their IPO is an investment opportunity, though they aren’t exactly the same in terms of what the investor is getting.

Special Dividends

Special dividends, also referred to as one-time dividends or extra dividends, are dividend payments made to investors outside the scope of regular dividend payments. A company that plans to go public may make a pre-IPO special dividend payment to its existing shareholders. The total value of the dividends paid may be equal to or less than the amount the company expects to be raised through the Initial Public Offering.

Dividends

Dividends are regular payments made in stock or via cash to shareholders out of a company’s profits. Cash dividends can increase the value of an investor’s holdings over time if the investor reinvests them in the stock. Again, the amount an investor receives in dividends depends on the company.

Dividends may go up when profits are up and drop when profits fall. But a high dividend payout alone is not a reason to consider investing in a company. It’s important to look at the company’s financials to determine whether that higher payout is sustainable over time.

Why Do Companies Give Dividends?

Companies offer dividends as a reward or incentive to attract new investors and retain existing ones. A company that offers a dividend regularly can attract income-focused investors. As long as the dividend payout sticks around, then the investors are likely to stick around as well. Of course, this assumes that a company is profitable and has the means to pay out dividends in the first place.

Dividends are less common among newer companies because they’re typically reinvesting any profits they realize into further growth. That doesn’t mean they won’t offer a dividend to investors later but for the near term, they may need every bit of profit to continue expanding.

The Takeaway

The purpose of most IPOs is to raise capital and generate buzz; paying shareholder dividends is more common with an initial public offering for a REIT than a traditional company IPO. In either case, the dividends could serve as an incentive to attract new investors.

The easiest way to know whether a pre-IPO company plans to offer a dividend is to review their registration documents by reading the S-1 registration form that’s been submitted to the SEC.

Whether you’re curious about exploring IPOs, or interested in traditional stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can get started by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. On SoFi Invest, eligible SoFi members have the opportunity to trade IPO shares, and there are no account minimums for those with an Active Investing account. As with any investment, it's wise to consider your overall portfolio goals in order to assess whether IPO investing is right for you, given the risks of volatility and loss.


Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

What is an IPO dividend?

An IPO dividend is a dividend payout associated with a company’s Initial Public Offering. IPO companies can make special dividend payouts on a one-time basis or offer regular stock dividend payments to investors.

How do shareholders make money in an IPO?

Shareholders can make money in an IPO if they’re able to sell shares at a higher price than their initial offering price. Shareholders can also collect IPO dividend payments to supplement their profits.

Are dividends taxed?

Yes. The IRS considers dividends a form of taxable income. The tax rate that applies can depend on whether you have qualified or nonqualified dividends. The IRS taxes nonqualified dividends at ordinary income tax rates while qualified dividends follow the long-term capital gains tax rate structure.


Photo credit: iStock/LaylaBird

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Investing in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves substantial risk, including the risk of loss. Further, there are a variety of risk factors to consider when investing in an IPO, including but not limited to, unproven management, significant debt, and lack of operating history. For a comprehensive discussion of these risks please refer to SoFi Securities’ IPO Risk Disclosure Statement. IPOs offered through SoFi Securities are not a recommendation and investors should carefully read the offering prospectus to determine whether an offering is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

New offerings generally have high demand and there are a limited number of shares available for distribution to participants. Many customers may not be allocated shares and share allocations may be significantly smaller than the shares requested in the customer’s initial offer (Indication of Interest). For SoFi’s allocation procedures please refer to IPO Allocation Procedures.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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