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Media Monitoring and IPOs: How Monitoring Can Help Counsel Companies and Executives

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 10:45
Media Monitoring and IPOs: How Monitoring Can Help Counsel Companies and Executives

The transition to a public company presents an opportunity for communications teams to provide strategic counsel.

As such, media monitoring should be one part of the initial public offering (IPO) toolkit.

The formal documentation (the prospectus) which kicks off the IPO process describes the company before and after the IPO. It also sets out the messaging for company executives to use with the media, investors and other stakeholders.

Before the prospectus is filed, communications teams should check if their existing media monitoring is robust enough in terms of breadth (financial media outlets) and types of content tracked (search terms) to pick up IPO-related coverage. This ensures that findings can be shared quickly with internal stakeholders.

Typically, IPO reporting spikes around these four milestones:

  • The offering is declared “effective” by the SEC
  • The CEO/CFO roadshow begins
  • The stock price is set the day prior to the IPO
  • The first day of trading

Monitoring enables communications professionals to ensure that the financial details are reported accurately and that they align with the prospectus.

A media monitoring service should also identify influential journalists and social media users that discuss the company.

You can create watch lists for targeted media and influencers—such as specific analysts at firms.

It can also separate what’s important from general noise by providing context like readership, audience figures or number of followers, as well as the engagement for each article and post.

Before the Quiet Period

Before entering the first enforced “quiet period,” a press monitoring service and social media monitoring tool can help identify company sources of articles and posts, sanctioned or otherwise, to ensure that employees who post online or talk to the media understand confidentiality policies.

During the Quiet Period

During the first enforced quiet period after filing, all PR and communications activities come under scrutiny of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and activities should be limited to what would be expected “in the ordinary course” of business activity.

Companies must be vigilant and avoid press releases, blog posts, social media posts or any activity that contains forward-looking statements, future plans or performance forecasts. All communications will likely need to be reviewed with legal counsel.

Communicate with Confidence

To help teams communicate with confidence, executives should be able to quickly understand general sentiment towards the IPO, which key messages from the prospectus get amplified and any voices of dissent as they emerge.

The stock performance on the first public day of trading is beyond communication professionals’ control. It’s critical to prepare executive responses for best-case and worst-case scenarios.

The Post-IPO Quiet Period

The second enforced quiet period, post-IPO, is an ideal time to train executives for their new way of communicating.

Media analysis should help gauge performance to that point.

Public companies and investors expect well-stewarded information faster. Communications teams should expect the same from their monitoring and analysis services.

Media monitoring should be just one part of the IPO toolkit—but its importance deems it one of the most essential.

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