This research note investigates how going public affects the capacity of companies to pursue growth and profitability in the long run. It combines the results of transversal and longitudinal analyses of two databases of fast-growing Italian companies and IPOs and compares the results with nonfamily-owned businesses that went public during the same period. Studies of companies' growth show two main reasons for growth: external causes due to evolution in progress in the competitive environment and internal causes brought about by management ambitions. In either case, growth provides companies with three main advantages: the ability to increase value, higher market shares, and increased productivity. Italian empirical research shows the great difficulties that both small and large companies have growing. It is estimated that most companies, especially small ones, are family owned. The literature shows that family-owned companies face particular obstacles and that the IPO appears to provide them with some advantages.
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Document Type: Research Article
Associate professor in the Strategic Management Department, Bocconi University, and a senior professor in the Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management Department at SDA Bocconi Bocconi University School of Management in Milan, Italy.
Research assistant in the Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management Department at SDA Bocconi—Bocconi University School of Management in Milan, Italy.
June 1, 2002