Ask Money

Initial Public Offering

Chris Farrell May 30, 2008

Question: I have reason to believe the company I work for is going public. If that happens I think the logical business maneuver would be to outsource everything possible and, most likely, that would leave my job directly in the line of fire. It is a fairly good gig and I don’t want to go elsewhere however I also don’t want to wait around until they request my departure. Are there public records that are filed with the SEC that I would have access to so that I may research their intent to go public and if yes how would I accomplish this? Thanks, Alan, Mt. Airy, GA

Answer: There’s rumor. There are private meeting. But a company’s decision to sell stock to the public becomes official when it files with the Securities & Exchange Commission. In most cases, your company will file a prospectus that includes all the revenue and earnings information about the business, its management and directors, disclose the competitive risks it faces in the marketplace, and describe any other information that will allow potential investors to evaluate the company. It can also file additional information. You can find any filing by the company at the SEC’s electronic database, EDGAR. All public companies–foreign and domestic–are required to make their registration statements, periodic reports, and other official forms available to investors electronically through EDGAR. You can access EDGAR and learn how it works at

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