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Greensheet: What It Means and How It Works?

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You must have often heard about the movie premiers and launch events that happen before a movie is released for everyone in theatres. The events are for a select few who then create hype about it with their reviews, all as a part of marketing. Interestingly, a similar scenario takes place when a company either announces an IPO or a new issuance. A document, called a greensheet or deal sheet, is prepared and circulated selectively. What is a greensheet? What is the purpose of this document? Can one access the greensheet online? Who can get the greensheet? Let’s understand. 

What is a Greensheet?

A greensheet, also known as a deal sheet, is a detailed document prepared by an underwriter to summarize key aspects of a new issuance (made through a follow-up offering) or initial public offering (IPO). It is an internal marketing tool to generate interest from potential institutional investors and brokers. The document highlights the investment’s features and rationale for why the IPO could be a sound investment choice.

Generally, the underwriting team, issuer, and other IPO participants collaborate to create and update the deal sheet to reflect IPO details and market conditions. Here, an underwriter is someone or an organization that assumes insurance risk, backing financial transactions by accepting the potential loss in exchange for fees. The greensheet, usually a few pages long, accompanies the prospectus or preliminary prospectus outlining critical offering terms such as price, commission, investment merits, and risks.

Its purpose is to quickly provide registered individuals with essential information about the offering without reviewing a lengthy prospectus. Greensheets are strictly confidential and intended solely for use by the underwriting firm’s representatives, not for public distribution. This strategy aims to promote the IPO and attract investor support efficiently.

What is a greensheet intended for?

The greensheet empowers institutional investors to make informed decisions by offering detailed information and analysis, boosting the IPO’s chances of success. It clarifies the following factors-

  • Business Model Explanation: Clarifies the company’s business model and strategy, simplifying complexities for investors. Details include revenue sources, cost structure, customer segments, and competitive advantages.
  • Financial Overview: A comprehensive financial summary covers past performance, projected revenues, and earnings. This helps investors assess the company’s financial health and growth potential.
  • Risk Analysis: Evaluates potential investment risks, including market shifts, regulatory challenges, competition, and business model vulnerabilities. This transparency ensures investors understand potential pitfalls.
  • Management Team Profile: Details the company’s leadership’s backgrounds, experience, and track records. This allows investors to gauge the team’s quality and competence.
  • Market Conditions: Offers an analysis of market dynamics, including size, growth trends, and competition. This broader context aids investors in understanding the company’s operating environment.

Apart from these, the greensheet also provides disclosures and parameters of related risks. This encompasses operational, financial, industry and competitive, leadership, legal, regulatory, and macroeconomic risks. By disclosing these risks and details, underwriters ensure that potential investors understand the investment comprehensively. 

Pricing disclosures in the Greensheet:

  • Expected Price Range: This outlines the projected price per share in the IPO, giving investors an idea of potential costs. The final price can vary based on market conditions and demand.
  • Valuation Significance: Assessing the company’s worth is critical for IPOs, indicating its anticipated value based on factors like revenue and growth prospects. Greensheets often show an approximate valuation range for investors to gauge market value and alignment with their risk preferences.
  • Deal Size: This represents the total capital the company aims to raise through the IPO. It helps investors understand the offering’s scope and fundraising goals, including potential effects on existing shares.
  • Price-to-Earnings Ratio: Some deal sheets include the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which compares share cost to earnings per share (EPS), aiding investors in evaluating investment potential.
  • Underwriting Details: Information about the underwriting process, lead underwriters, syndicate, and any associated discounts or commissions may also be provided, offering transparency into the IPO’s management and structure.

Apart from these, the greensheet must include a disclosure explaining its purpose, distribution restrictions, information limitations, and a statement clarifying it is not a solicitation of securities.

Is Greensheet different from the prospectus?

Though the greensheets and prospectus both give an almost similar set of information, they serve distinct purposes in financial transactions and securities offerings, each with specific functions, target audiences, and regulatory requirements.

The prospectus is a legal document made available to the public when companies offer securities for sale. It contains detailed information about the company, its management, and the securities being issued, including financial reports, business strategy, risks, and the use of funds from the offering. Its purpose is to provide potential investors with essential details to make informed investment decisions, regulated by financial authorities to ensure transparency and investor protection.

In contrast, the greensheet is an internal document used by the underwriting firm’s sales team. Unlike the prospectus, it is not a public document aimed at investors and is not legally mandated or subject to specific regulatory standards. Additionally, unlike a prospectus, a greensheet is not meant to be comprehensive in nature. Importantly, it is mandatory that the greensheet’s content should align with and not contradict the information presented in the prospectus.

Bottom line:

A greensheet includes details from a prospectus by law, presenting this information in balance without additions. It does not create a legally binding agreement or serve as a sales offer. The greensheet is solely an informational tool for the broker-dealer community and is circulated selectively among the registered representatives only.

So, when you think of applying for an IPO, consider a prospectus and consult a SEBI-registered investment advisory to know whether it can be added as a long-term stock. Besides this, you can also use their expertise to learn more about Other IPOs in stock market and CMP in the stock market, a term often heard in the securities market. 


  1. What is a greensheet?

    A Greensheet, drafted by an underwriter, assists in selling securities to brokers or dealers. It provides key details about a corporate offering, aiding sales. It is selectively available and not issued publicly like a prospectus. 

  2. Why is it called a greensheet?

    It's called a greensheet because it's printed on paper and contains information about green investments (the new investment avenues being introduced through IPO).

  3. What is a greensheet used for?

    A greensheet supplements a prospectus for registered individuals. It highlights crucial details like price, commission, investment merits, and risks, enabling quick understanding without needing a lengthy read. This marketing tool hypes upcoming IPOs before their launch. 

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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