DEFINITION of 'Auction'

A system where potential buyers place competitive bids on assets and services. The asset or service in question will sell to the party that places the highest bid. In most cases, sellers will pay a listing fee to the auctioneer, regardless of whether the item actually sells for the desired price.


For example, Google used a modified form of auctioning called the dutch auction when it issued its IPO. In this form of auction, prospective buyers submitted bids that included the number of shares desired and what the bidder was willing to pay for them. After the auction ended, the underwriters sorted through bids in order to determine the minimum priced bid they would accept from buyers. The IPO was priced at $85.

The internet has increased the amount of exposure that auctions now have, and bidders no longer have to be physically present to participate. Online marketplaces such as eBay connect buyers and sellers worldwide by allowing individuals to submit their bids (or list their products) online and send payment electronically.

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  1. How can I invest in tax liens?

    An individual can invest in tax liens by identifying available liens and then participating in auctions where property tax ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does QVC charge sales tax?

    QVC, an American TV network, is registered with states to collect sales or use tax on taxable items. QVC is also required ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Does Walmart take international credit cards?

    Foreign visitors to Walmart locations in the United States can use their credit cards issued by banks outside of the U.S. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. When did Facebook go public?

    Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) went public with its initial public offering (IPO) on May 18, 2012. With a peak market capitalization ... Read Full Answer >>
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