What is Book Building?

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  • 13 Jul 2023

Book building is a mechanism companies employ to determine the price of their securities and generate demand among potential investors. It involves the creation of a "book" or "order book" that contains the details of investors' demand for the securities being offered. This process helps to determine the price range and the final price at which the public will get the securities.

Book building is one of the two methods, the other being fixed pricing, through which companies decide the prices of the initial public offering. This blog discusses the key aspects of the book building process.

  • Appointment of Underwriter

The initial stage of the book building process involves selecting and appointing an underwriter for the firm, typically an investment bank. The underwriter's role is crucial in facilitating the subsequent stages of the process. They bring expertise and support to the company throughout the offering.

The appointed underwriter takes the responsibility of determining the size of the issue, which refers to the number of shares to be issued. Additionally, they assist in establishing a pricing range for the offering. This range includes a floor rate, which represents the minimum price at which applicants can submit their bids, and a ceiling rate, which sets the maximum price for the issue.

  • Bidding from Investors

The second step of the procedure involves inviting investors to submit their bids. Typically, this invitation is extended to high-net-worth individuals, fund managers, and other relevant market participants. Investors get the opportunity to bid on the number of shares they are willing to purchase and the price they are willing to pay for those shares.

  • Book Building

After receiving bids from various investors, the underwriter now possesses a collection of proposals at different price points. The next step involves analyzing the aggregated demand for the securities using all available data. The underwriter utilizes a weighted average technique to determine the final rates for the issue, often referred to as "cut-off" prices. This calculation accounts for the bids received and assigns appropriate weights to each bid based on its significance. By employing this method, the underwriter arrives at the optimal pricing levels for the securities being offered.

  • Publicizing Information

Stock exchanges have implemented a mandatory requirement for companies to disclose information regarding the bids submitted by investors to promote transparency and enable informed decision-making by the general public.

  • Final Allocation

Upon completing the book building process, the company proceeds to allot the shares of the IPO issue to the investors whose applications have been accepted. It is important to note that the company only provided a pricing range to investors during the bidding phase. Consequently, some investors may have bid below the cut-off price, while others may have bid above it.

For those investors who submitted bids above the cut-off price, any surplus amount is refunded to them. Conversely, investors who bid below the cut-off price must settle the difference in amounts to ensure their bids align with the final price determined during the book building process. This mechanism ensures fair and accurate allocation of shares to the investors based on their bidding prices.

Book building offers several advantages over traditional methods of pricing securities:

  1. Efficient Price Discovery: By allowing market participants to submit their bids and offer prices, book building facilitates the discovery of the most appropriate price for the securities. This ensures that their pricing is in line with market demand and investor expectations.

  2. Increased Transparency: The book building process brings transparency to the pricing and allocation process. Investors can track the book's progress and observe the demand for the securities, enabling them to make informed investment decisions.

  3. Demand Generation: Book building helps generate interest and demand among potential investors. The process allows a wide range of investors, including institutional and retail investors, to participate, ensuring wider market coverage and maximizing the chances of a successful offering.

In Conclusion

Book building is a dynamic and effective method for pricing and allocating securities. It facilitates efficient price discovery, increases transparency, and generates investor interest. By allowing market participants to contribute to the process, book building ensures that securities are priced in line with market demand, benefiting both the issuing company and investors.

As the financial markets continue to evolve, book building remains a vital tool in capital market offerings, playing a significant role in shaping the success of companies and their securities.


Book building is a process companies use to determine the price of a new securities offering. It involves collecting and recording investors' indications of interest or bids for the securities.

The book building process involves various participants, including the issuing company, underwriters, lead managers, and potential investors. Underwriters and lead managers are crucial in coordinating the book building process and facilitating investor participation.

Once the book building process is completed, the issuing company and its underwriters determine the final issue price and allocate the securities to the successful bidders. The securities are then listed on the relevant stock exchange, and trading begins.

The bid price denotes the value proposed by a purchaser for a designated quantity of shares at a specific moment.

The process of issuing company shares comes with specific restrictions that need to be taken into account. For instance, the issuer company must have a strong financial standing. Furthermore, this method tends to perform optimally in well-established market conditions. Despite these limitations, it is widely acknowledged as a more effective alternative to the fixed-price approach and is extensively employed in practice.

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