Taking Your Company Public
with Sworblade & Co
Are you planning to float your company to open up a world of new opportunities?
Going public is a significant undertaking, an exciting and transformative event that will forever change the way you do business. Public companies face greater public scrutiny, must adhere to regulations and requirements set forth by stock exchanges and meet continuing obligations. Organisations poorly equipped to function as a public entity risk losing investor confidence and equity value.
A public floatation has to be well thought out, planned and managed. Preparations can be lengthy and involve coordinating a range of complex activities. At Swordblade & Co, we act as project managers and take care of the overall coordination of the floating project. This involves putting together a dream team or supergroup of the key professionals whose specialised skills and experience are crucial elements of a successful offering. They include:
With our strong project management skills, we’ll develop and execute a comprehensive and smooth-running plan to prepare your company for a successful float. Our tried and tested process involves the following key steps:
An initial paid consultation with Sebastian Sauerborn, CEO Swordblade & Co. During this in-depth and detailed discussion about your plans to float your company, we’ll address the most important question: Is going public the right decision for your organisation? If we think it’s not suitable for you or we’re not the right partner to help you, we will say so. The overarching purpose of the consultation is to give you clarity and help you make an informed decision by addressing such factors as:
The advantages and
disadvantages of floating
Which stock exchange is
suitable for your company
The process of going public
If you decide to proceed, we’ll send you a proposal containing details of our fee for setting out the corporate structure and a retainer for ongoing consultation services, which is typically around £15,000.
We engage in more detailed working, which involves developing a coherent strategy for going public, dealing with unexpected hurdles such as companies not having audited accounts and conducting preliminary work on setting up the company structure – for example, a UK PLC or Irish PLC.
We will also start involving potential external partners and organise conference calls with corporate advisers, solicitors and auditors. These parties will prepare quotes for their services, and if you decide to use them, they will bill you independently from us. We may also introduce you to the stock exchange where you are listing during this part of the process.
We will onboard the external partners you have chosen, and once this is done, our primary responsibility is project management, allowing you to continue running your business without distraction.
We ensure everyone knows what they have to do and when they have to do it by. Some external partners will start work immediately. For example, solicitors verifying your articles of association and auditors reviewing your business finances. We make sure pre-IPO activities and tasks are completed on time and that the entire project runs efficiently.
Preparing the corporate structure that will be floated or listed. Often this is an empty company, so we’ll incorporate assets from a subsidiary. Our other responsibilities include applying for an ISIN number (a 12-digit alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies a specific security), making sure the shares are tradable electronically and arranging for the prospectus and stock exchange admission document to be written. Then we approach the exchange.
Different stock exchanges require different approaches.
For a regulated market like the London Stock Exchange, where a prospectus is submitted, the process is straightforward.
With smaller stock exchanges that don’t have firm admission criteria, the approach entails convincing them that a company is worthy of being listed. Doing so may involve key company management making a presentation.
Once the exchange has accepted your company for listing or in preparation for the presentation, you submit the initial admission document.
With both approaches, the exchange reviews the document and may get back to you with revision requests. We take care of that. Also, during this stage, we discuss an initial share price for the company with the exchange. This is crucial because it tells you your company’s current value or market value.
Your company is admitted for trading, after which you must comply with the obligations of being a public company. This includes adhering to extensive public disclosure rules and explaining decisions made and actions undertaken to shareholders. You will also need to engage the services of a corporate adviser affiliated with the exchange who will advise about ongoing issues.
Once the process is complete and you are a publicly trading company, we remain at your disposal should you want to embark on additional fundraisings or wish to acquire outside capital by issuing bonds.