Underwriters of largest IPOs in the U.S. 2019

Credit Suisse was the underwriter of the initial public offering (IPO) of Alibaba Group Holding on September 18th, 2014. At 21.77 billion U.S. dollars, this was the largest IPO in the United States ever, as of December 2019. Visa’s 2008 IPO, underwritten by JPMorgan, was the second largest, followed by ENEL SpA’s 1999 IPO, underwritten by Merrill Lynch.

How big is Alibaba?

The Alibaba Group Holding, a Chinese company operating in the e-commerce sector, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange. This was a critical IPO because it gave private investors a chance to reach into the Chinese market. The company sells trillions of yuan in merchandise each year. For a company that was already handling volume on that magnitude at the time of its IPO, a skilled underwriter like Credit Suisse was crucial for and IPO.

Why does an IPO need an underwriter?

An IPO is a complicated process. Even a larger firm like Alibaba does not have specialists in the kind of regulations placed on the process, so they are willing to pay significant underwriter fees to ensure a successful IPO. This risk can pay off with high returns if conditions are correct, but a significant number of IPOs also have negative first day returns.

Underwriters of largest IPOs in the United States as of December 2019

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period

December 2019

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Statistics on "Initial public offerings in the United States"

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