What it is:
An offering is the process of issuing new securities for sale to the public.
How it works (Example):
For example, let's say the founders of Company XYZ want to sell half of their shares. They need buyers and would like to offer their shares to members of the general public. In order to do that, Company XYZ hires an underwriter, which determines the value of the shares and creates an offering memorandum that discloses important information about the company to potential buyers. The underwriters then conduct the offering, which facilitates the sale of the shares to the public via a stock exchange.
Why it Matters:
Offerings are a way to raise capital, which is what companies need to grow and access cash. If a stock offering is the first of its kind for a company, this is called an initial public offering (IPO). It is important to note that offerings are not limited to stock offerings; bonds and a variety of other securities also circulate via offerings.