How is an OFS different from an IPO? OFS vs. IPO

An Offer for Sale (OFS) and an Initial Public Offering (IPO) are both methods through which companies can make their shares available to the public, but they differ in the nature of the shares being offered and the parties involved.

Nature of Shares:

OFS: In an OFS, existing shareholders, such as promoters, large institutional investors, or other investors, sell their existing shares to the public. The company itself does not issue new shares in this process, and the proceeds from the sale go to the selling shareholders.
IPO: In an IPO, the company issues new shares to the public for the first time. The funds raised from the IPO go directly to the company, which can use them for various purposes such as expansion, debt reduction, or working capital.

Involvement of the Company:

OFS: The company whose shares are being sold is not directly involved in the transaction. It does not receive any funds from the sale of shares in an OFS; instead, the selling shareholders receive the proceeds.
IPO: The company is actively involved in an IPO. It undergoes a process of issuing new shares, and the funds raised directly contribute to the company’s financial capital.


OFS: Existing shareholders use OFS as a way to divest their holdings and realize gains. It provides an exit route for early investors or allows promoters to reduce their stake.
IPO: The primary purpose of an IPO is to raise capital for the company’s expansion, development, or other corporate purposes.

Regulatory Approval:

OFS: The regulatory approval process for an OFS is generally quicker and involves fewer regulatory requirements compared to an IPO.
IPO: IPOs involve a more extensive regulatory process, including the filing of a prospectus with detailed information about the company, its financials, and the purpose of the IPO.

While both OFS and IPO are methods for companies to access public markets, the key distinction lies in whether existing shares (OFS) or new shares (IPO) are being offered to the public and in the purpose and involvement of the company in the process.